MP EVM tampering row: Akhilesh demands probe, says public faith can’t be misused

Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) [India], Apr. 1 : Former Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav on Saturday demanded an inquiry after Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in Madhya Pradesh were only dispensing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) slips.

"There should be inquiry after Electronic Voting Machines in Madhya Pradesh were only dispensing BJP slips," Akhilesh tweeted.

He further said that the matter is not about checking of the EVMs but of people's faith and confidence in the electoral process.

Earlier the Samjawadi Party supremo had backed Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati's claim that the EVMs during the Uttar Pradesh electoral process were tampered and also called for the probe.

Following reports of malfunctioning EVMs, the Election Commission has said that it will send a high level nine-member delegation to Madhya Pradesh to supervise the by-elections.

Earlier today, a Congress delegation met the Commission in connection with bye-election from 9-Ater and 89-Bandhavgarh (ST) assembly constituencies in Madhya Pradesh, and demanded the Commission ensure free and fair election and absolute neutrality of the officers.

Following their request, the poll panel decided to depute a team of high level officers led by Bhanwar Lal, CEO Andhra Pradesh (Chief secretary level officer) to supervise the bye-elections in the state, said an official statement.

The team will also include R. K. Srivastava, Senior Principal Secretary and Varinder Kumar, Principal secretary. These teams of senior officers will supervise the implementation of all administrative and security instructions of the Election Commission for the conduct of elections.

To ensure the correct functioning of EVMs and VVPATs being deployed in the two ACs, the Commission has also decided to depute two teams of officers of the Commission along with technical experts.

The integrity of the EVMs and the VVPATs to be used in the poll will be demonstrated to the complete satisfaction of all stakeholders by the team.

These teams will remain in the Assembly Constituency till the counting is over. "The commission is committed to conduct entire electoral process transparently, fairly and to the complete satisfaction of stakeholders including esteemed voters.

ECI will always hear and redress genuine and credible suggestions from stakeholders to further strengthen the electoral system," the statement added.

The Election Commission had ordered an inquiry into reports that the EVMs in Madhya Pradesh were malfunctioning, and also sought a report about the incident where the voter-verifiable paper audit trail machine generated an acknowledgment slip with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) symbol even though the chief electoral officer had pressed the button for the Samajwadi Party candidate during a demonstration exercise.

Source: ANI