Kejriwal says Punjab EVMs being moved; officials deny charge
New Delhi/Chandigarh, Feb 13 (IANS) Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday accused officials in Punjab of trying to move EVMs from a strong room in Punjab where polling was held on February 4. Officials denied the charge.
“This is absolutely shocking. Punjab officials trying to remove EVM machines,” Kejriwal tweeted.
The incident related to some trunks, carrying EVMs inside, being moved in Punjab’s Patiala district and a video of the exercise being shot by a local AAP leader.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader also posted a video showing some men opening and moving boxes which appeared to be containing Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).
“Officers entered strong room on the pretext of taking some papers but started removing EVMs,” Kejriwal added.
Kejriwal’s reaction came in response to another tweet claiming that a Returning Officer “allowed four people to enter the strong room where EVMs were kept”.
AAP leader Sanjay Singh said he had asked the Chief Election Commissioner and other officials to take “strict action” in the matter.
However, Patiala Deputy Commissioner Ramvir Singh, who visited the striongroom, claimed that the EVMs being moved related to the municipal corporation elections held in 2015 and that these were being moved to make space for counting of votes on March 11.
He said that the EVMs of the assembly elections were “intact in the strongroom”. In a communication to the EC and the CEO, the Deputy Commissioner said that the strongroom was under the protection of central forces 24 x 7.
The AAP Punjab unit also complained to Punjab chief electoral officer V.K. Singh in Chandigarh. AAP candidates in Patiala district alleged that officials were trying to “sabotage” the assembly polls.
“The stopped removing the trunks carrying the EVMs when the AAP leaders objected to it,” a AAP leader said in Patiala.
The Deputy Commissioner, in his communication, claimed that the seals of the strongroom, which were intact, were shown to all candidates.
The AAP has already sought greater security for all strongrooms across Punjab where EVMs are kept. At many places, AAP volunteers have pitched tents outside the buildings where EVMs were kept under guard in strongrooms.