Mamata accuses BJP of switching EVMs; questions voter turnout figures | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Mamata accuses BJP of switching EVMs; questions voter turnout figures

May 01, 2024 08:01 PM IST

Mamata Banerjee made the allegation in the context of the Election Commission of India (ECI) releasing voter turnout figures for the first two phases on Tuesday

Kolkata: West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee alleged on Wednesday that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has hatched a plan to switch electronic voting machines (EVM) being used in the ongoing Lok Sabha polls with the 1.9 million machines that allegedly went missing in 2019.

West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee (File Photo)
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee (File Photo)

The BJP promptly dismissed her allegation, calling it a “figment of imagination.”

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Addressing voters at back-to-back rallies in Malda and Murshidabad, the only Bengal districts where Muslims are in the majority, the Trinamool Congress (TMC) supremo made the allegation in the context of the Election Commission of India (ECI) releasing voter turnout figures for the first two phases on Tuesday.

The data showed a rise of around five per cent from what ECI projected after the polls were held on April 19 and April 26.

Also Read: ‘Why TMC, better to vote for BJP’: Adhir Chowdhury’s video sparks row

At the Malda South constituency, Banerjee said, “Figures that EC released yesterday show 5.75% more turnout in areas where BJP gets fewer votes. We want to know how this number went up, who makes EVM machines and who manufactures the chips used in these machines. Around 1.9 million EVM machines have been missing for a long time. There is a wide suspicion that false data were entered into the missing EVMs and those machines were kept in place of the EVMs being used now.” 

Of the 543 seats in the Lok Sabha, 102 and 88 were contested in the first and second phases respectively. After the polling, ECI said that the “approximate trend” in turnout in the first phase was 60% while in the second phase, it was 60.96%.

However, official figures released on Tuesday showed that voter turnout was 66.14% and 66.71% in the first and second phases, respectively. This prompted many opposition parties, including Congress and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) to question the delay in releasing the figures.

Addressing voters at the Berhampore constituency in Murshidabad district, where Muslims comprise 66.28% of the population, Banerjee warned other opposition parties against attempts to switch EVMs.

Also Read: Mamata Banerjee reaches out to Muslims in Malda LS seats that TMC never won

“May I request all opposition parties to keep an eye on EVM machines and counting centres because 1.9 million EVM machines are missing. We know this for a long time but we never got any reply from EC on this issue. BJP has started changing the EVMs. In Gujarat BJP is changing EVMs,” said Banerjee.

“We want to know from EC the polling percentage in every assembly segment.

“You cannot say that 5.75% more votes were polled after four days have passed. At places where opposition parties are weak, the BJP is breaking into strong rooms and changing voting machines. Everybody is questioning, please answer these questions,” Banerjee said.

Responding to Banerjee’s allegations, Bengal BJP’s chief spokesperson Samik Bhattacharya said that her statement has confirmed that the TMC will not get more than nine of Bengal’s 42 seats.

“This fear is fuelling her wild imagination. If she is convinced that BJP is switching EVMs then why doesn’t she ask INDIA coalition leaders including Rahul Gandhi sit on dharna in Delhi with her,” he said.

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