New Delhi: The Election Commission on Monday said no electronic voting machines (EVMs) used in Uttar Pradesh elections were moved for the Madhya Pradesh bypolls and said that the allegations made by Delhi Chief Minister and AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal "baseless".
It said the EVMs are kept in a strong room after results are announced till the 45-day period of filing of election petition by any of the candidates is over. However, in case of 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.
The voters see Voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) slip for seven seconds, which would be an acknowledgement receipt for the party they voted for in the election. VVPAT is a machine which dispenses a slip with the symbol of the party for which a person has voted for. The slip drops in a box but the voter cannot take it home.
"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," it said in a statement. The Commission, without naming Kejriwal, described him as leader of a political party who had made "certain baseless observations and allegations" in a press conference.
The AAP convener had alleged this afternoon that EVMs, as per law, cannot be taken out for 45 days from the date of declaration of results. But still the machines for the bypolls 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.
"Aspersions have also been cast on the Election Commission of India 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 bypolls in Madhya Pradesh.
"Required number of VVPAT machines were moved from different states for use in bypolls as per the existing policy of the ECI. This is because 53,500 VVPAT machines available with the Commission, were deployed during the recently concluded polls in five states," it said.
The poll watchdog said that in any election a certain percentage of EVMs and VVPAT machines are kept in reserve so that the machines deployed on the poll day can be replaced, if required.
"The EVMs and VVPATs kept in reserve also go through the stringent protocol of 'first level checking', randomisation and loading of symbols in the presence of representatives of candidates/political parties. Hence, the VVPATs that were sent to Bhind had the previous symbols loaded from Uttar Pradesh.
"This is a standard protocol and there was nothing amiss in this. According to standard protocol, the old symbols are erased only during first level checking before the next poll. However, it was not done when the demonstration was made on March 31 at Bhind. As per the Commission's instructions, any training or demonstration is commenced only after completing the first level checking which was missed out at Bhind for which Commission has replaced the District Election Officer," it said.
It also noted that the report of special officer deputed to inquire into allegations of multiple printing of paper slips of BJP at Ater (Bhind) would be made public.
Published Date: Apr 04, 2017 10:11 am | Updated Date: Apr 04, 2017 10:11 am