Himachal Pradesh assembly elections: Congress, BJP spar over EVM security


Even as the elections to the state assembly were held over 10 days ago, there is no end to politicking as the ruling BJP and the opposition Congress are at daggers drawn over the security of the electronic voting machines (EVMs).

Apprehensive about the “tampering” of the EVMs, Congress has pitched tents outside the strongrooms in at least half a dozen places where the EVMs have been stored after the elections for round-the-clock vigil.

The elections to state assembly were held on November 12 and the counting would be done on December 8. Till then the EVMs will be kept in strong rooms in three-tier security.

The opposition party workers are keeping a vigil outside the strong rooms at Dharampur, Ghumarwin, Nachan, Gagret and Paonta Sahib. In Una, the district administration had pitched three tents to facilitate the representatives of political parties.

On the other hand, the BJP submitted a complaint to the chief electoral officer (CEO) accusing the Congress of violating the model code of conduct.

BJP state media co-in-charge Karan Nanda said the complaint was made by party’s election cell officials.

In his complaint to the CEO, BJP election cell co-in-charge Dinesh Chauhan alleged that Congress was up to some mischief and may tamper with the EVMs.

“We were informed by BJP candidates from different constituencies that Congress is up to some mischief and has been trying to gain entries in the strongrooms all over the state,” Chauhan said.

He alleged that Congress party workers have pitched tents outside strong rooms in which EVMs are stored and are not following the ECI guidelines in this regard.

“They have been freely moving inside the campus and not maintaining the distances as provided under instructions,” he alleged, adding that in Nahan, it was reported that they had been roaming around with ITBP personnel/ guards and were trying to enter strong rooms.

“There is an attempt to take advantage of ECI guidelines and on the pretext of guarding the EVMs, safety and sanctity of EVM can be compromised. In view of above, it is requested that the ECI guidelines in this regard be followed strictly so that Congress is not able to tamper with the EVM,” he added.

Meanwhile, the Congress has denied any violation of the model code of conduct. The chairman of Congress media department Naresh Chauhan said everything was done as per the Election Commission of India (ECI) guidelines. “The ECI rules permit the party candidate and the workers to keep a vigil on the EVM strongrooms,” he said.

He alleged that it was likely that the ruling party may try to tamper with the EVMs.

“Our doubts became stronger when an EVM was caught in a private care in Rampur assembly segment and hence at several places party workers have pitched up the tents outside strongrooms,” said Chauhan.

He said that the Rampur incident had raised question on the EVM security as there was a long gap of nearly a month for counting after the elections.

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