EVM controversy: In entire Assam, EC only found BJP leader’s car, asks Surjewala
The Congress on Friday continued its attack on the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) after Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) were allegedly found in a car of BJP candidate Krishnendu Paul in Assam’s Karimganj district on Thursday night, hours after the state witnessed voting in 39 constituencies in the second phase of the assembly elections.
Addressing a press conference on Friday, Congress spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala said the BJP should now be called the EVM ‘Chor’ (Thief ) party. But the people have ensured Congress’ victory with such a majority that it will never succeed even by stealing EVMs, he said.
“The Election (EC) Commission’s car broke down and a BJP candidate Krishnendu Paul arrived with his car. The EC was transporting the EVMs in his car. In all of Assam, you (EC) only found the BJP candidate’s car?” Surjewala asked the polling body.
Referring to the re-polling ordered by the EC in the Ratbari assembly constituency, the Congress spokesperson said, “But the EVMs were found inside Paul’s car, the BJP’s candidate from Patharkandi. The Election Commission should answer to the entire nation whether it will take any action against him.”
Prior to Surjewala, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi and party leader Gaurav Gogoi also blamed the BJP for the entire controversy.
Taking it to Twitter, Gandhi alleged that every time such an incident happens, the vehicle usually belongs to the BJP or its associates and the video recordings are "taken as one-off incidents and dismissed as aberrations". She said the EC needs to start acting decisively on such complaints and a re-evaluation of the use of EVMs has to be done by all national political parties.
Gogoi, on the other hand, said that the only way through which BJP can emerge victorious in Assam is by looting EVMs. Calling the entire incident a ‘script’, the Congress leader tweeted that the polling body needs to save itself before the public’s trust is destroyed completely.
The EC has suspended four officials including the Presiding Officer in connection with this incident and re-polling will be done at number 149- Indira MV School of LAC 1 Ratabari as an 'added precaution’. Issuing a release, the EC said as the polling party’s original vehicle carrying EVMs broke down, it decided to “arrange a vehicle of its own so as to reach the Material Receipt Centre faster since they were in the custody of polled EVMs. ”
After hailing a passing car, the polling party boarded it without checking the ownership of the vehicle and the party said that as the car slowed down due to traffic, it was surrounded by a mob that started pelting stones at them.