Ludhiana: In the wake of AAP raising questions over the security of electronic voting machines, a two-member team of the Election Commission today visited all the strongrooms where EVMs of different assembly constituencies of Punjab have been kept.
The EC team also examined the strongroom of the Gill constituency here in Punjab which went to polls on February 4.
The two-member team comprising Himachal Pradesh Chief Electoral Officer Narinder Chauhan and Additional Chief Electoral Officer Rajesh Kumar from Delhi also held a meeting with the election agents of various political parties.
Ravi Bhagat, the district election officer and Jatinder Singh Aulakh, Commissioner of Police were also present on the occasion.
The EC team members said that they would submit their report to the Chief Election Commissioner very soon.
They also assured the polling agents that the security of the EVMs are being maintained at highest level. Candidates can examine the respective strongrooms daily with the Returning Officer, they said.
Notably, senior AAP leader H S Phoolka had complained to the EC that RO Gagandeep Singh along with eight unidentified persons allegedly remained in the strongroom for about half an hour where EVMs of Gill assembly constituency were kept.
The EC team arrived in Punjab yesterday to take stock of the security arrangements at strongrooms at Patiala (Nabha), Ludhiana (Gill), Jalandhar (Phillaur, Nakodar, Shahkot, Jalandhar Cantt) and Tarn Taran during their two-day tour.
The team was formed by EC after a delegation of Aam Aadmi Party leaders met the Chief Election Commissioner in Delhi two days back, seeking an inquiry over the alleged breach of security of EVMs at strongrooms in Punjab.
The delegation led by Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia had submitted a memorandum alleging that there are “multiple instances of breach in EVMs’ safety” in the state, where the party is hopeful of forming the government.
In the latest incident, AAP smelt foul play in Patiala, alleging that the Nabha RO allowed some people to remove EVMs that were kept in a college building in Patiala.
Patiala District Election Officer Ramvir Singh, while denying any wrongdoing, had said that the EVMs in the premises were the machines for the already held 2015 municipal polls in the state and has said machines were being removed to make space for the counting on March 11.
Besides Patiala, AAP had also accused the returning officer of Gill assembly segment in Ludhiana of tampering with EVMs kept in the strongroom at Punjab Agricultural University, Ludhiana.
AAP, which is eyeing to wrest power in the state, had also filed a petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court, raising questions on the security of EVMs at strongrooms in Jalandhar, Phillaur, Shahkot, Jalandhar West and Tarn Taran.
Punjab Congress chief Amarinder Singh had described AAP’s complaint regarding “removal of EVMs” as “excessive paranoia” and said the “frivolous complaint”, indicated that the party is preparing ground to “save face” following the announcement of poll results. PTI
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