A polling party was intercepted by a group of Congress workers in Rampur area of Shimla district on Saturday night for allegedly transporting the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in a private vehicle. Voting to elect the new government in Himachal Pradesh across 68 seats was held on Saturday.
Congress workers held a protest and also accused the polling party of interfering with the EVMs, prompting the district election commission authorities to immediately suspend the polling party members. “EVMs were being transported in a private car. We followed it and also informed the police and election commission authorities,” Congress MLA Nand Lal said while speaking to the media.
As per norms, after the voting process is over, the EVMs have to be transported in government vehicles to the counting center. As per officials, the polling party after the Assembly Election for the 66-Rampur (SC) Assembly Constituency was held on Saturday.
District election commission authorities said that they received information after the completion of polling that polling party no.146 assigned to Duttnagar-49 was carrying EVM/VVPAT in their private vehicle bearing registration number HP-03D-2023. Congress workers alleged that the EVM/VVPAT machines were being transported with intention of tampering at the behest of the BJP.
The police administration reached the spot as soon as the incident was reported, tried to pacify the protestors, and sent the EVM/VVPAT machines to the strong room. Election commission authorities closely checked the EVM/VVPAT machines in the presence of Congress and BJP workers outside the strong room, and claimed machines were Sealed properly and no tampering was found.
Officials claimed that the polling party used a private vehicle in a hurry to surrender the EVM/VVPAT machines and to be free from responsibility. “We found that the Polling Party No.146 was carrying the EVM/VVPAT machine in a private vehicle, which is a clear-cut violation of the instruction of ECI and prima facie found that the party has not followed the due procedures and violated the ECI instruction,” Returning officer (SDM) Surender Mohan said in an order.
The polling party members have been identified as Jagat Ram, PRO, Secondary Education GSSS Baur Nerwa, Inder Paul, PO, Secondary Education, GSSS Melandi Tehsil, Kumarsain, Rajesh Kumar, APRO, Secondary Education, GSSS Kelvi Tehsil Theog, Pradeep Kumar, PO, Elementary Education, Goverdhan Singh, Security Personnel, Department of Himachal Pradesh Police, and Vipan, Security Personnel, Department of Himachal Pradesh Police.