EVM tampering: EC terms Kejriwal’s allegations as baseless

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New Delhi, April 3 (IANS) The Election Commission (EC) on Monday termed Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s allegations of tampering with EVMs as “baseless”.

“It has been alleged that EVMs as per law cannot be taken out for 45 days from the date of declaration of results but still EVMs for the by-polls in Madhya Pradesh were taken out and shifted from Uttar Pradesh where the results have been declared on March 11 and hence the 45 days period is still not over,” said ECI Director Dhirendra Ojha in a statement.

“Certain baseless observations and allegations have been made by a leader of a political party today (Monday) in a press conference regarding the use of EVMs,” he said.

Clarifying its stand, the EC said: “The Commission would like to clarify the legal position. The EVMs comprising the Control Unit (CU) and Ballot Unit (BU) used in any election shall be kept in a strong room after declaration of results and shall not be accessed by anyone till the period of filing of election petition is over.”

“The election petition has to be filed within 45 days. However, in case of voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) machines, the printed paper slips have to be retrieved at the time of counting and sealed in a paper envelope and only these sealed paper slips have to be kept inside the strong room along with the EVMs,” read the statement.

“The VVPAT machines are not required by the law to be retained in strong room for the purpose of election petition and are available for use in any other election. However, in the ongoing by-polls only VVPAT machines which were kept in reserve and not used during the actual poll, have been redeployed,” it added.

Clarifying its position further, the EC said: “Aspersions have also been cast on the EC that EVMs from Uttar Pradesh were moved to Bhind, Madhya Pradesh. The Commission would like to point out that these allegations are completely baseless and made without verifying the facts.”

“No EVMs have been moved from Uttar Pradesh for the purpose of by-polls in Madhya Pradesh,” read the statement.

The Commission also clarified that in any election, a certain percentage of EVMs and VVPAT machines are kept in reserve so that EVMs and VVPAT machines deployed on the poll day can be replaced, if required.

It said report of special officer deputed to inquire into allegations of multiple printing of paper slips of a particular political party at Ater (Bhind) is “awaited and would be made public”.

Alleging that EVMs can be tampered with, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Monday blasted the Election Commission and said Delhi’s civic polls should be postponed if need be to use the paper ballot.

The Election Commission, Kejriwal said, violated the law as EVMs used in an election can’t be reused for 45 days because someone can challenge the result that may warrant an examination of the EVMs.

–IANS

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