Around 8:19 am on 30 November 2018, there was a stir outside the Old Jail Complex in Bhopal, MP. The reason was the sudden breakdown of a LED screen outside the strongroom. Stored in the strongroom were those machines which would record the mandate of lakhs of people, and which hold the future of MP’s government.
I am talking about the Electronic Voting Machines, or the EVMs.
Rumour has it…
The EVM had been tampered with during the voting on 28 November in MP.
It’s not my claim, but the Congress and other Opposition parties have reached out to
the Election Commission regarding this issue. Some videos, which have gone viral
also reaffirm this suspicion.
The issue wouldn’t have created a stir if it were limited to just Bhopal. Earlier, there were reports that in Khurai, which is the constituency of MP’s Home Minister Bhupindra Singh, an EVM was sent back to the strongroom 48 hours after the voting ended. A sub-tehsildar was also suspended due to this.
Later, a video from Satna also created a stir. The alleged video showing some boxes being transferred incognito inside the strongroom of Satna had been shared on the Twitter handle of MP Congress at around 11:52 pm on 30 November.
A video of Rewa’s collector Preeti Maithili Nayak also emerged, where she can be seen instructing the security guards to shoot whoever tries to come near the EVM.
The question, however, is that are these the only few glitches, or is anything more sinister brewing?
What do the rules say?
- Voting machines will reach the strongroom safely under round-the-clock surveillance
- Representatives of political parties will be present at the time of strongroom’s sealing, they can also lock it with their own seals if they want
- A strongroom must have a double-lock system with a single entry point
- Even the windows of the strongroom should be sealed
- 24×7 CCTV coverage of entry points, and output to be displayed on a screen outside
- A log book will maintain details of visitors’ entry & duration of stay in the strongroom
Which means there is an alert management around the clock.
But this guideline has been openly violated
The Election Commission has explained that there was a ‘power failure’ which caused the CCTV to stop working in the strongroom in Bhopal. It’s worth mentioning that the Election Commission has itself laid down the rule, which says:
“There should be an uninterrupted supply of electricity where the EVMs are kept. To ensure this, the chief election officer must write to the chairman of the respective electricity board. A generator must be kept on standby to ensure there is no gap in camera recording.”
Inspite of all these guidelines, there was a power cut in the strongroom of MP’s capital Bhopal.
So, if such stringent rules and regulations are broken, questions ought to be raised. It’s not up to us to decide who is right and who is wrong at this point but we request the government to bring forth the truth so it could lift the mist of the Opposition’s allegations.