Poll panel team inspects EVM strongrooms at Jalandhar, Ludhiana, Tarn Taran
A two-member team of the Election Commission (EC) of India inspected strongrooms that house the electronic voting machines (EVMs) used in the February 4 Punjab assembly elections, in Jalandhar on Thursday, and expressed satisfaction at the arrangements.punjab Updated: Feb 16, 2017 21:24 IST
A two-member team of the Election Commission (EC) of India inspected strongrooms that house the electronic voting machines (EVMs) used in the February 4 Punjab assembly elections, in Jalandhar on Thursday, and expressed satisfaction at the arrangements. The EVMs of the district’s nine assembly segments have been kept in the buildings of the District Land Record Society and the State School for Sports. Similar inspections were held at Ludhiana earlier in the day, and later at Tarn Taran.
The inspections are being conducted particularly after the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) met the chief election commissioner in Delhi to express apprehensions about EVMs’ security ahead of the March 11 counting of votes. On Wednesday, the team had checked arrangements at Patiala, and found AAP’s allegations of shifting of EVMs baseless.
The team comprising Narender Chauhan, chief electoral officer (CEO) of Himachal Pradesh, and Rajesh Kumar, additional CEO of National Capital Region, Delhi, accompanied by district electoral officer Kamal Kishor Yadav, police commissioner Arpit Shukla and returning officers, visited the strongrooms in Jalandhar. Before this, the team also held a meeting with representatives of political parties, including the Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD), Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and others.Chauhan said adequate force has been deployed for security of the strongrooms: “Other necessary measures have also been taken.”
In Ludhiana, too, the team first conducted a meeting with officials of the local administration and the 14 returning officers of the district, besides representatives of parties. The inspection after it was conducted for nearly 20 minutes mainly at the strongroom of Gill constituency at Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), as local AAP leaders had alleged that on February 6, returning officer Gagandeep Singh Virk had entered the strongroom along with some people and “tampered with the EVMs”.
DC-cum-district electoral officer Ravi Bhagat and additional DC Apneet Riyat also joined the team and got the EVMs’ seals checked. The security camera footage of the room was also checked.
Bhagat said, “The official report of the inspection will be submitted to the EC directly by the team, but they have confirmed to us that they saw no issues in the storage and security of the EVMs.”