Madhya Pradesh Assembly polls: Congress moves EC seeking probe into unclaimed blank postal ballots

Bhopal: The Congress on Wednesday submitted a memorandum to the Election Commission, seeking a probe into the blank postal ballots found unclaimed at the state police's Home Guard office.

The poll watchdog, meanwhile, said action has been initiated against three Home Guard personnel for "dereliction of duty" in this connection. "We have complained to the EC about Tuesday's incident in which unclaimed ballot papers were found in the Home Guard office near the State Police Headquarters. We have also complained about the lack of security of EVMs kept in the strongrooms across the state," MP Congress Election Affairs Wing in-charge JP Dhanopia said.
He added that his party also requested the EC to provide details of the EVMs replaced during the polling.

Representational image. AP

Representational image. AP

Assembly polls in Madhya Pradesh were held on 28 November. The Congress has raised doubts over the security of EVMs, which contain the votes cast to elect a 230-member Assembly in the state. "The postal ballots found at Home Guards office should have been delivered to service voters, who are posted outside. It appears that they had not been given to the jawans. This should be investigated," Dhanopia said.

Reacting to the incident, the poll commission's public relations officer said in a press release that the postman had delivered 124 postal ballots sealed in envelopes to an assistant sub inspector at the Home Guards office, instead of delivering them separately to the persons to whom these envelopes were addressed. But the officer and employees did not deliver them to the persons concerned. Three polled postal ballots were found there, it said.

As per the EC release, following an investigation into the incident by the Director General of Police and Bhopal District Collector, action was initiated against an Assistant Sub Inspector, a constable and a sainik of Home Guard for dereliction of duty. These ballots are being distributed now, the release added.

Meanwhile, Congress's media cell chairperson Shobha Oza held a press conference, where she displayed one of the purported blank ballot papers and alleged that the Home Guard officials distributed the ballot papers to the jawans only on Wednesday.

She claimed that these postal ballots were dispatched by the EC on 29 November, a day after the polling. Oza alleged that the postal ballots were not distributed to the jawans of Home Guards on time so several of them may fail to exercise their franchise.

Reacting to Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan's allegation that the Congress was raising a hue and cry over the EVMs out of fear, Oza said it was a matter of surprise that the BJP and the CM had no objection about the EVMs reaching 48 hours late to the strongrooms.

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Updated Date: Dec 06, 2018 09:15:04 IST

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