The Bhind collector and superintendent of police were transferred today amid reports of a VVAPT machine purportedly dispensing slips only with BJP symbols during its trial, irrespective of the EVM button pressed.
The Bhind collector and superintendent of police were transferred today amid reports of a VVAPT machine purportedly dispensing slips only with BJP symbols during its trial, irrespective of the EVM button pressed. The Election Commission of India transferred DC Ilayaraja T and SP Anil Singh Kushwaha along with Ater Sub-Divisional Police Officer Indrveer Singh Bhadauria besides ordering various actions against 16 other distract officials in wake of the controversy involving the trial run of the VVAPT machine.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Electoral Officer Saleena Singh told PTI that Kiran Gopal and S Saxena have replaced Ilayaraja and Kushwaha respectively. Manjeet Singh Chawla has replaced Bhadauria as Ater SDPO, said Singh. The Bhind collector and the SP besides the Ater SDPO are among the 19 officials from the district against whom the poll panel has recommended action, an EC spokesman told PTI. The action was taken to ensure transparency in conducting the byelection in Ater Assembly constituency, slated for April 9, he said.
The EC official said, “Out of the 19, six officials including the collector, the SP and the SDPO have already been replaced. The replacement of the in-charges of three police stations will be announced soon.” The Commission’s IT Infrastructure Director Mukesh Meena, along with four other members, meanwhile, inspected the EVMs and VVPAT units today to be used in the bypoll and reportedly found them in order. According to the media reports, the faulty VVPAT was dispensing slips with the BJP symbol only during their trial run ahead of the bypoll.
The bypoll for Ater Assembly constituency in Bhind and at Bandhavgarh assembly segment in Umaria district will take place on April 9. The EC actions followed a day after Congress leaders Digvijay Singh and Jyotiraditya Scindia, besides Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and other opposition leaders met Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi in Delhi. They lodged a complaint with the CEC saying a video of the trial run of the voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) machine attached to Electronic Voting Machine at Bhind on March 31 showed that it was dispensing slips only with the BJP symbol, no matter which button on the EVM was pressed.
The opposition parties demanded scrapping of the EVM for the coming elections. VVPAT is a machine which dispenses a slip with the symbol of the party for which a person has voted for. The slip drops in a box and the voter cannot take it home. The media reports also claimed that Saleena Singh was seen telling journalists that the news should not appear in newspapers, else they would be detained at the police station. The chief electoral officer, who was present during the trial and seen in the video, however, yesterday denied that VVPAT dispensed only BJP slips.
The bypoll in Ater was necessitated following the death of sitting Congress MLA Satyadev Katare, who was also the Leader of Opposition in the state assembly. In Bandhavgarh, the byelection will be held as the sitting BJP MLA Gyan Singh was elected as an MP from Shahdol Lok Sabha seat.