Assam EVM row: Presiding officer suspended; re-poll ordered by EC

The Election Commission on Friday ordered repoll at a polling station in the Ratabari Assembly seat of Assam after the EVM was found in a BJP candidate’s vehicle on Thursday evening.

The EC in its order said: “The presiding officer and 3 other officials have been placed under suspension. Although the seals of the EVM were found intact, it has nevertheless been decided to do a repoll at number 149 – Indira M.V. School of LAC 1 Ratabari (SC) as added precaution. A report has also been sought from special observer.”

The alarm was raised after the second phase of polling ended in Assam on Thursday, a video on social media went viral which allegedly showed EVMs in the car of the Patharkandi BJP candidate Krishnendu Paul.

Assam Congress President Ripun Bora retweeted the video and said that open loot and rigging of EVMs has to stop immediately.

He also threatened that the party would boycott the election otherwise if action is not being taken.

The EC said that the incident took place on Thursday, when the EVM carrying vehicle, allotted by the election department, broke down at around 9 pm.

The election officials then decided to arrange another vehicle to reach the Material Receipt Centre. After 20 minutes, the polling party stopped a car, passing through that route, and then boarded it along with their EVM without checking the ownership of the vehicle, which belonged to the candidate Krishnendu Paul.

As reported by the polling party, they moved towards Karimganj and as they reached Kanaishil a mob of at least 50 people started pelting stones at them. The crowd also hurled abuses at them and restricted the vehicle’s movement. They also alleged that the officials took the EVM to tamper with it.”