On Camera, Andhra MLA Flings VVPAT To Ground In Polling Booth

The Election Commission said the MLA, YSR Congress Party's Pinnelli Ramakrishna Reddy, has been recorded vandalising EVMs in seven polling centres.

The incident took place on May 13, the date of polling in Andhra Pradesh.


In an unprecedented development, CCTV footage has emerged showing an MLA from the ruling YSR Congress Party in Andhra Pradesh picking up a voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) machine and hurling it to the ground at a polling station. The Election Commission said the MLA vandalised electronic voting machines (EVMs) in seven polling centres and the state police chief has been asked to take strict action. 

The police said the MLA has been named as an accused while the opposition Telugu Desam Party has claimed that the legislator and the YSRCP are indulging in such vandalism because they are fearing defeat.

The incident took place on May 13, when all 25 of Andhra Pradesh's Lok Sabha constituencies and all 175 Assembly seats went to the polls. Violence was reported on the day of the election in many areas and sporadic incidents have taken place after that as well. 

In the footage, YSRCP leader Pinnelli Ramakrishna Reddy, who is the sitting MLA from the Macherla constituency and has won from there at least three times, can be seen walking into the Palwai Gate polling centre, where an election official gets up to greet him. Without saying a word, the MLA walks into the enclosed area where the EVM is kept, picks up the VVPAT and throws it with a lot of force on the ground. 

A component comes off the machine and even as someone in the polling booth charges one of his aides and slaps him hard before heading to Mr Reddy and being held back, the MLA nonchalantly kicks what appears to be the control unit. He then seems to be warning the attacker before walking out. 

An election official is then seen recording the VVPAT lying on the ground.

Macherla comes under the Palnadu district, which has been the worst hit by violence on the day of the polling and after that. 

Taking to X, TDP leader and party chief Chandrababu Naidu's son, Nara Lokesh, wrote in Telugu, "YSRCP MLA Pinnelli Ramakrishna Reddy vandalised the EVM at the Palwai Gate polling centre of Macharla Constituency. I demand that the Election Commission take strict action against Mr Reddy, who has vandalised EVMs and attacked them because of a fear of defeat. People are going to give the real verdict on YSRCP's factional politics on June 4."

The TDP is fighting the election in an alliance with Pawan Kalyan's Jana Sena Party and the BJP.

In a statement, the Election Commission (EC) said Mr Reddy was recorded on camera vandalising EVMs in seven polling centres, "along with PS number 202",  in the Macherla Assembly constituency. 

"Palnadu district election officials have handed over video footage of all such polling stations to the police to assist in the investigation of the case related to the vandalism incident. The EC is taking this matter very seriously and has directed Andhra Pradesh Chief Electoral Officer Mukesh Kumar Meena to inform the director general of police to take strict action against all those involved in these incidents," the statement said. 

Stating that the police have named the MLA as an accused, it said, "The EC hopes that no one will dare to commit such misdeeds in the future."

Misbehaviour Too?

On the same day, a YSRCP MLA had slapped a voter, reportedly for objecting to the legislator jumping the queue at a polling booth. 

On Tuesday, the Election Commission also directed the Union Home Ministry to retain 25 companies of central forces in Andhra Pradesh even after counting of votes on June 4 because of the election and post-poll violence in the state.