Cameras failed for over an hour at EVM strongroom in MP: Election Commission

New Delhi: The Election Commission on Saturday confirmed that a strongroom in Madhya Pradesh’s Bhopal faced a blackout for over an hour on November 30 after a power cut in the area. This led the Opposition parties to make accusations of tampering EVMs.

The Election Commission also said that it has taken action against an official who allegedly delayed the handover of EVMs in Sagar by nearly two days, when it should have been done as soon as polling got over on November 28.

“A report obtained from the Bhopal Collector states that CCTV cameras and an LED display installed outside the strongroom did not function from 8.19 am to 9.35 am on 30.11.2018 due to a failure of electricity supply. Because of this, the recording could not be done during the given time period. An additional LED screen, an inverter and a generator have been installed in order to ensure continuous electricity supply,” a statement released by the poll body on Saturday read as quoted by NDTV. It also said that now the CCTV cameras are functional and a two-layer security will ensure that any wrongdoing is prevented.

The election body also said that after a complaint made by the Congress regarding an unlocked door at the Old Jail strongroom, the door has been closed.

Congress leader PL Punia on Saturday met the Election Commission and suggested to ensure a secured counting process, news agency ANI reported. PL Punia alleged that some unidentified persons with laptops and mobiles were seen around the strong room which is not allowed. Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Manish Tewari, Vivek Tankha, TS Singh Dev, Pranav Jha, Ashok Dhahariya were also the part of the delegation, according to reports.

Congress leader Abhishek Manu Singhvi said that they had informed the Election Commission about a polling booth in Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur where a process of deletion of names was being misused. Of the 100 forms, 58 were filled with wrong details. This may cause a difference of 16,000 votes in Saharanpur. It can change poll results, he said.

Earlier on Saturday, the Congress had moved the Election Commission, raising concerns over the security of the EVMs and demanding adequate measures to ensure free and fair results during counting of votes polled in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh elections.

While a delegation of senior Congress leaders met the poll body and raised concerns over the security of EVMs inside strong rooms, party spokesperson Manish Tewari later held a press conference and said Electronic Voting Machines have been found in hotel rooms in Chhattisgarh. He sought a probe into the issue.

Tewari alleged that the BJP was resorting to malpractice as it feared defeat in these two states.

“Now what were EVMs doing in hotel rooms? After an election is over, an EVM is supposed to be kept in the strong room. Rather than the strong room, it was found in a hotel room. On one hand, the Election Commission says that officers have been suspended, on the other the State Election Commission says EVMs have not been tampered with,” he said.

“The fact that they are in an unauthorised place is evidence of tampering itself,” he asserted.