Allegations of EVM tampering must be probed: West Bengal CM Mamata Banerjee
West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee has once again added her voice to the growing demand for an investigation into the alleged tampering of electronic voting machines (EVMs) in the recently-concluded assembly elections.
“You can’t win elections every time by hijacking EVMs. I didn’t contest but had I done so, I would have counted from 1 to 10. Those who had contested the elections should have demanded a probe,” she said at a public rally in Kharagpur in West Midnapore district on Monday.
“I think there should be a probe. Even the ones that were used in the polls, they should be subjected to a sample survey,” she added.
Her comments came close on the heels of Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and Congress’ allegations about faulty EVMs. They have even said that the tampered EVMs affected their performance in the assembly elections.
On Monday, Kejriwal asked the Election Commission to release the EVMs for an investigation into allegations of tampering and rigging and said his “experts” can show in 72 hours how the machines could be tampered to suit a political party.
The poll panel rejected Kejriwal allegations as “completely baseless” and said that they were made without verifying the facts.
In March, Banerjee had said the Election Commission should convene an all-party meet amid allegations of tampering of EVMs in the assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh.
Several political parties have raised doubts over the reliability of the EVMs after the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP’s) unexpectedly massive victory in Uttar Pradesh elections last month.
Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati had also blamed faulty EVMs for her party’s rout in the UP assembly elections. Kejriwal, the Samajwadi Party as well as the Congress had echoed those allegations. At the time, the poll watchdog had rejected the charge.
These parties have demanded that EVMs should not be used for elections unless equipped with a Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) facility.
The issue of faulty EVMs in back in the news after reports that a VVPAT machine used during a trial in Madhya Pradesh’s Bhind only dispensed slips with the ruling BJP’s poll symbol.
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- The opposition leader is also scheduled to meet senior TMC minister Firhad Hakim and hold talks about the upcoming Bengal polls.
- TMC and BJP have dismissed the Left rally as insignificant. While the TMC claims CM Mamata Banerjee will return to power for the third time, BJP says the elections are bi-polar and there is no space for the Left.
- The BJP lodged a complaint in the Phoolbagan police station. Senior BJP leaders of the state rushed to the spot to take stock of the situation.
- The TMC asked the EC why the polls could not be held in fewer phases.
- She alleged that the poll panel scheduled the election dates keeping in mind the BJP’s demands.
- The CBI earlier questioned Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s nephew and Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Abhishek Banerjee’s wife Rujira Banerjee in the case.
- Besides rallies, the chief minister’s itinerary could include religious stopovers at important places of worship.
- "Modi government only makes false promises, has done nothing to bring down fuel prices," PTI quoted the Bengal chief minister as saying.