EC orders probe after Delhi man claims he was dissuaded by poll officials from complaining on mismatch between vote cast and VVPAT slip
The Election Commission on Monday asked the Delhi Chief Electoral Office to inquire into the allegations of a man who claimed that he was dissuaded from complaining about a mismatch between the vote cast by him and what reflected in the VVPAT machine on Sunday, during Phase Six of the Lok Sabha election.
The case pertains to a polling booth in the Matiala assembly segment of West Delhi
Narrating the incident on social media, Gupta said he even agreed for a test vote, which started at around 6 pm
Voting was also not stopped as per rules, Gupta alleged
New Delhi: The Election Commission on Monday asked the Delhi Chief Electoral Office to inquire into the allegations of a man who claimed that he was dissuaded from complaining about a mismatch between the vote cast by him and what reflected in the VVPAT machine on Sunday, during Phase Six of the Lok Sabha election.
The case pertains to a polling booth in the Matiala assembly segment of West Delhi.
My VVPAT machine((Delhi, Matiala, Booth 96) printed the wrong symbol although the EVM machine red bulb glowed correctly. I complained to the presiding officer who directed me to nodal officer who then directed me to sector officer. All of them asked me not to complain ! (1/n)
— Milan Gupta (@gupta_milan) May 12, 2019
I insisted. They told me I'd be arrested under ipc sec 177. I found that strange because that section doesn't provide for arrest without court orders. I told them I'd submit a written complaint anyway. The senior most officer told me that I would have to write in Annexure 6.(2/n) — Milan Gupta (@gupta_milan) May 12, 2019
Taking cognisance of his grievance, Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa tweeted, "CEO Delhi has been asked to inquire."
Narrating the incident on social media, Gupta said he even agreed for a test vote, which started at around 6 pm while he had complained one and a half hours earlier.
Voting was also not stopped as per rules, Gupta alleged, claiming that he was even pressured to withdraw the complaint.
"I stood in front of the EVM, closed my eyes and looked up and randomly scrolled my fingers blindly on the EVM. The witnesses saw that by doing this I wasn't intending to reveal my earlier secret vote in this testing procedure. (7/n)
"My fingers stopped at some bricks symbol (Independent candidate, I think). I pressed it. The VVPAT printed the bricks symbol in next few seconds. The officer then announced that I proved myself wrong, and I said that you asked me to select randomly and I did that (8/n).
"This bricks symbol wasn't my secret vote cast earlier as I wouldn't reveal my earlier vote during the test (video recorded) as well. He said nothing doing you're now going to be arrested. I said well, do that. He then asked the police to arrest me. The police did not but.. (9/n)" he tweeted.
Gupta said he was also taken to Dwarka sector 9 police station, but the police were unaware of what action should be taken against him.
His ordeal was finally over after police dropped him home, Gupta added.
A poll official said the law provides a provision wherein a person can be arrested for making false claims during the voting process to cause disruption.
Since Gupta's claims were found to be untrue, he was handed over to police, the official said, adding that a test vote is deleted during counting.
Police said they did not detain the man but only took him to the police station and they have submitted a report to the returning officer of the West Delhi constituency.
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After over five decades of ballot papers, India completely shifted to Electronic Voting machines in the 2004 Lok Sabha election. However, in an attempt to bring more transparency in the counting process, the Election Commission will not only be counting the votes in EVMs but also tally a limited number of VVPAT slips on 23 May.
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