In a lapse, officials posted in Dediapada constituency in Gujarat’s Narmada district during the first phase of polls yesterday “forgot” a “spare” VVPAT EVM unit in a private jeep while returning to Rajpipala, a senior officer said today. However, the unit, packed in three separate bags, was spotted by the driver of the jeep and some local leaders in Dediapada who brought it back to Rajpipala, the Narmada district headquarter, this morning. After the incident came to light today, District Collector and Election Officer R S Ninama claimed that the EVM unit was a “spare” one and was not used in the polling in the Dediapada (ST) seat.
According to Ninama, the EVM unit was among the six spare units which were sent to Kanjal village in Dediapada taluka yesterday. “Along with the six EVMs used for polling at Kanjal and five other adjoining villages, we had sent six spare units to deal with any unwarranted technical problem. Zonal poll officials were supposed to submit all these units at Rajpipla after the polling,” Ninama told reporters.
However, officials forgot one unit in the jeep and submitted remaining units at the receiving centre here last night upon their return, he said. “Today morning, the driver of the jeep, who returned to Dediapada after dropping the officials here (last night), spotted the unattended unit in the jeep and informed some local leaders of Dediapada. They then brought that unit here,” Ninama said. The officer said he had already submitted a report to the Election Commission about the incident. “This was a spare EVM unit which was not used in the polling. Having said that, we have started the procedure of issuing a show cause notice to the concerned poll officials for showing such negligence,” he added.