Gangtok: All rules and guidelines of the Election Commission of India (ECI) were followed for full transparency during Assembly elections and the first phase of Lok Sabha polls in Sikkim on Thursday, said Kapil Meena, district election officer (DEO) and returning officer of East Sikkim.

Addressing the issue flagged by some political parties of reserve/un-used EVMs/VVPATs being transported on polling day, Meena said that there cannot be any ground for doubt on full-proof authentication procedures as prescribed by the ECI.

As per ECI rules, only polled EVMs and VVPATs are kept inside sealed strong rooms and all other reserve/extra/un-used or defective un-polled machines are required to be kept at different places in designated warehouses, Meena said. Hence the plan to transport un-polled machines was done as per ECI rules and were verified as per the list of machines of different categories, he added.

Further, there were allegations of machine tampering made against a political party of Upper Burtuk, due to which the team was forced to wait for three hours on the way by some people. “The issue was later resolved amicably on interaction with district administration and security agencies. Once the polling party arrived at the reception centre, all seals were checked and no tampering or irregularities were found. Accordingly, in both cases, all political party representatives were briefed in detail and they were fully satisfied. Even these explanations were video-graphed and general observers were briefed on the issues,” the DEO added.

The DEO requested the general public to not believe in any rumours about poll-process tampering or any other allegation of machine manipulation as “those are impossible and unthinkable”.

All EVMs/VVPATs are given unique numbers and the same is checked in every stage to ensure that there are no manipulations or mistakes. Everyone needs to be assured that all due process has been followed and issues raised have been resolved to the full satisfaction of concerned parties. All contesting candidates have been provided with a list of commissioned EVMs and those used in polling that cannot be altered, Meena said.

The DEO denied allegation of any attempts of deviations or malpractices during the entire process and reiterated that it has been ensured that the polls were totally transparent, free, fair and in accordance with ECI’s idea of democratic elections.

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