Guwahati: Highlighting several EVM-related incidents on April 1, the second phase of assembly elections, Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) wrote to Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Nitin Khade, urging him to take appropriate legal actions to ensure free and fair elections.
In a letter dated April 3, APCC President Ripun Bora listed out six instances where electronic voting machines were unattended, found in non-requisitioned vehicles, malfunctioned etc. and underscored the dereliction of duty by officials involved in the election process.
He said, neat Hatipura polling station in Diphu, several EVMs were found by local public in the dikki (boot) of a luxury car, which was not requisitioned for election purpose. Likewise, several EVMs were seized from a vehicle in Jamunamukh constituency which was being carried by government officials in the absence of security personnel.
Also, a polled EVM was found in the personal vehicle of BJP candidate Kirshnendu Paul, the incumbent Patharkandi MLA, which is in violation of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC).
In Kalaigaon constituency, an EVM was found missing from a polling station, and when people present at the booth complained, police personnel open fired to dispel the gethering. No action was taken against the officials on the duty for their dreliction of duty, wrote the APCC president.
Further, 139 polling stations had malfunctioning EVM in areas under Jagiraod, Nagaon, Hojai, Nilbagan, Lumding, Udalguri and Silchar. And in the strong room set in Dibrugarh, suspicious individuals were found loitering within the restricted area, against which, the Congress has already lodged a complaint with the returning officer, said Bora.
Making a case, he said, it has been observed that there was dereliction of duty by officials and wide-scale violation of MCC during the second phase. Bora urged the CEO to take prompt actions against the guilty persons involved in all the mentioned incidents, including BJP MLA Paul.
Further, he requested Khade “to ensure free and fair elections in the third phase of elections and to stop such looting and malfunctioning of EVMs.”