IANS

Congress team meets EC, claims conspiracy and poll violations in MP, Chhattisgarh (Lead)

New Delhi, Dec 1 (IANS) Days after Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh voted to elect their new assemblies, a Congress delegation on Saturday met the three-member Election Commission alleging a conspiracy to distort election results in the two states, expressing “grave concern” over the safekeeping of EVMs.

The Congress also alleged an organised attempt by the BJP to try and subvert the mandate of the people and urged the poll panel to take congnisance of these extremely alarming incidents.

In two separate memoranda submitted to the poll panel, a party delegation led by Abhishek Singhvi and Manish Tewari demanded that necessary steps be taken for preventing manipulation of results and to ensure that the counting of votes and other related processes are free from interference in the two states.

The party alleged there was a larger conspiracy related to EVMs in Madhya Pradesh to distort the results of the elections.

It alleged that 48 hours after the close of polling in the state, a school bus carrying EVM machines without the registration plate reached the Sagar District Collector’s office “ostensibly” to deposit those machines.

“This incident is a clear case of certain parties and individuals engaging in corrupt practices to manipulate the outcome of the recently concluded election,” the party said, demanding an inquiry and segregation of those machines from the rest.

“Furthermore, following the failure and malfunctioning of the EVMs during the elections, there is a clear case to be made of a larger conspiracy to distort the results,” the memorandum submitted to the poll panel said.

The party also expressed concern over the security of election strongrooms saying the presence of unauthorised individuals in and around the strongrooms leaves the machines and the result vulnerable to manipulation.

It also called for segregation of used and unused EVMs, recommending that unused ones should be kept off campus if possible, or at least in separate sealed rooms.

The delegation also alleged “unlawful meetings” between the Chief Ministers and District Collectors during the operation of the model code of conduct.

“It has been observed in the ongoing Chhattisgarh state assembly election that the District Collectors have been operating mobile phones and other electronic devices inside the counting room,” the delegation said.

“We hope that the commission will issue clear and strong directions to ensure that the sanctity and integrity of the recently concluded polls is maintained.”

Later in the day, addressing a press conference, Tewari said, “It was a very desperate attempt by the BJP to try and subvert the process of democracy.”

Showing some video clips of the EVMs in a hotel room, in a school bus and people entering the strong room, the former Union minister said, “The second issue which is extremely serious that the EVMs were found in the hotel rooms.

Raising question over the Election Commission, he said, “On one hand the Commission says the officers responsible for have been suspended and the the state Commission is saying that the EVMs have not been tampered with.

“How has the state EC come to the conclusion that those EVMs have not been tampered with?” he questioned, adding that those EVMs belonged to a particular polling booth and were found at an unauthorised position.

He also demanded that repolling should be done for the booths where these EVMs were found.

Senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel also demanded that the representatives of all political parties should be allowed while transporting EVM’s to counting centres from strongrooms.

It also should be cross-checked if postal ballots were received from eligible voters. The Rajya Sabha MP said, “The conduct of top officials in three districts — Rajnandgaon, Kondagaon and Bilaspur should be reviewed and a second round of counting should be initiated only after completion of the counting of the first round,” he said.

–IANS
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