After Doubts Over Madhya Pradesh EVM, Poll Commission To Fly In Officers

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After Doubts Over Madhya Pradesh EVM, Poll Commission To Fly In Officers

An EVM in Madhya Pradesh allegedly produced slips only for the BJP no matter which button was pressed.


New Delhi: 

Highlights

  1. Top election officers from Delhi, Andhra Pradesh to oversee by-elections
  2. EVM allegedly produces slips for BJP no matter which button pressed
  3. Congress and AAP have raised questions on the reliability of the EVMs
Anxious to lift the cloud of suspicion over the Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) within the opposition ranks, the Election Commission on Saturday decided to fly in top election officers from Delhi and Andhra Pradesh to oversee by-elections to two assembly seats in Madhya Pradesh on April 9.

The poll panel also announced it would depute two teams of Election Commission officers accompanied by technical experts to ensure that EVMs and VVPATs - Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail - used in the election were "to the complete satisfaction of all stakeholders".

The Election Commission's special measures for the Madhya Pradesh by-elections come after a video of a demonstration by the state's election officer, which opposition parties say showed the EVM recording a vote in favour of the BJP irrespective of which party was selected. The video renewed the fears that EVMs could be tampered, prompting the Congress and AAP's Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal rushing to the panel earlier on Saturday.

A Congress delegation met the commission to raise questions on the reliability of the machines and demanded that the panel ensure "absolute neutrality of the officers" in the state.  Congress leader Jyotiraditya Scindia later said the doubts over the machine must be settled.

"The commission is committed to conduct entire electoral process transparently, fairly and to the complete satisfaction of stakeholders including esteemed voters," a statement by the commission said, hinting that the commission - which has defended the performance of the machines in the past - did not have a closed mind.

"The Election Commission will always hear and redress genuine and credible suggestions from stakeholders to further strengthen the electoral system," the commission said.

Its special team for the two assembly seats where elections are slated for April 9, Ater and Bandhavgarh, is led by Bhanwar Lal, Chief Electoral Officer of Andhra Pradesh - who is a Chief Secretary level officer - will also include RK Srivastava, Senior Principal Secretary and Varinder Kumar, Principal Secretary at the commission's headquarters. These teams will supervise the implementation of all administrative and security instructions.

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