EC dismisses concerns of EVMs being shifted out or replaced

GHAZIPUR: Afzal Ansari, the BSP candidate in Ghazipur, sat on a protest outside the strongroom where EVMs are being kept to prevent them from being transported out in a vehicle. However the Election Commission of India dismissed their concerns saying EVMs were “absolutely safe” in strongrooms.

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Ghazipur, May 21

Afzal Ansari, the BSP candidate in Ghazipur, sat on a protest outside the strongroom where EVMs are being kept to prevent them from being transported out in a vehicle—concerns that the Election Commission of India later dismissed. 

In a video of the incident, Ansari and his supporters late on Monday were seen engaged in a heated argument with a police officer.

Another EVMs video from UP (from Jhansi)
Officials claim these are reserve machines. But they have no answer why the movement of EVM was not informed to candidates.
And why reserve EVMs are transported in private vehicles a day after election? #ExitPoll2019
#EVM #EVMHacking pic.twitter.com/4PomZTXFve

— Aap Ki Awaaj (@AapKiAwaaj) May 21, 2019

Talking to this correspondent on Tuesday, Ansari, who is the brother of mafia don and legislator Mukhtar Ansari, said that according to reports, similar incidents have been reported from other constituencies in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

"EVMs are being shifted out and probably replaced. None of the candidates were informed of the movement of EVMs. I am not going anywhere now because this is a clear attempt to resort to malpractices before counting," he said.

He said that he and his supporters would take turns to keep vigil outside the strongroom because he had no faith in the district administration.

Jangipur legislator Dr Virendra and Jakhania legislator Triveni Ram have also announced their support to Ansari and criticised the movement of EVMs.

Afzal Ansari, the SP-BSP alliance candidate is pitted against union minister Manoj Sinha of BJP from Ghazipur.

Look how the mahagatbandhan candidate from gazipur mr. Afzal ansari making allegations on govt and the police that they replacing the evms machine. He caught the vehicle loaded with evm entering the counting center. #EVM #EVMHacking @TheQuint @scroll_in @ndtv @yadavakhilesh pic.twitter.com/jf9ZCMcam4

— safwan khan (@safwankhansk) May 20, 2019

In Mirzapur, Congress candidate Lalitesh Pati Tripathi has sent a letter to the poll observer questioning the presence of 'additional EVMs' in the strongroom.

Visuals and claims of sudden movement of EVMs observed across the north India! Why is it so? Who is transporting these EVMs & Why? What is purpose and objective of this exercise? In order to avoid any confusion & misconception, Election Commission must issue a statement ASAP.

— Tejashwi Yadav (@yadavtejashwi) May 20, 2019

He has asked the observer to ensure removal of additional EVMs in the presence of all candidates before the counting day.

Tripathi is pitted against Union Minister Anupriya Patel of Apna Dal in Mirzapur It may be recalled that two weeks ago, a similar movement of EVMs was reported from Amethi and the district administration claimed that 'unused' EVMs were being sent to places where polling had not yet taken place.

'Safe'

However the Election Commission of India dismissed their concerns saying EVMs were “absolutely safe” in strongrooms.  

The Election Commission said later on Tuesday that it would like to "emphatically and unambiguously" clarify that all such reports and allegations are "absolutely false and factually incorrect".

The visuals on TV and social media "do not pertain to any EVMs used during the polls", it said.

In a statement, the commission said, after the close of polls, all polled EVMs and VVPATs are brought under security cover to designated strongrooms, which are sealed with double locks in the presence of candidates and observers of the commission.

The EC said there were close circuit video cameras that captured the entire process of storage and sealing of the strongroom.

"Continuous CCTV camera coverage is done till completion of counting. Each strongroom is guarded with round-the-clock security by Central Armed Police Forces. Further, candidates or their designated agents remain present at the strongroom for 24X7 vigil at all times," the statement said.

On counting day, the strongrooms are opened in the presence of candidates or their agents and observers. This is also videoed.

Before counting starts, the counting agents are shown the address tags, seals and serial number of EVMs to satisfy themselves to the genuineness and authenticity of the machines used in the polls, it said.

The provisions and protocols have been explained to political parties on multiple occasions, including in several of the 93 meetings held with them at the commission, since the announcement of elections, the EC pointed out.

"It can be appreciated, the detailed administrative protocols, security framework and procedural guidelines mandated by the commission completely foreclose and pre-empt the possibility of any mischief or manipulation in the polled EVMs and VVPATs stored in the designated strongrooms.

 "The aspersions in clips being used in media merely pertain to the storage or movement of reserve unused EVMs," the statement said.

It made it clear that any case of lapse, even in handling of reserve EVMs, is thoroughly investigated and disciplinary action taken against the officers responsible. Agencies 

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