Raising the issue, Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal had met Election Commission officials on Saturday.
Clearing controversy on Bhind EVM issue, Election Commission of India on Monday said that VVPAT machines found malfunctiong in Madhya Pradesh’s Bhind, were not used in recently concluded Uttar Pradesh Assembly Elections. “No EVMs have been moved from Uttar Pradesh for the purpose of Bye-polls in Madhya Pradesh,” EC said in reference to reports that malfunctioning machines were used in UP elections. The poll body added that no law bars EVMs from re-use and that machines can be used in any upcoming elections. “VVPAT machines not required by law to be retained in strong room for purpose of election petition and are available for use in any other election,” EC added. “However, in on-going bye-polls only VVPAT machines which were kept in reserve and not used during the actual poll, have been redeployed,” it further added.
Earlier, taking note of media reports, EC had on Saturday sought a detailed report from district poll authorities on the issue. An Assembly bypoll is due in Bhind next week, and during a mock-drill, a machine was allegedly found malfunctioning in favour of BJP. “We have sought a detailed report from district election officer and would come up with a response in the evening,” a Commission spokesperson was quoted as saying. VVPAT is a machine which used to record a vote during elections. The machine dispenses a slip with the symbol of the party for which a person has voted for. The slip drops in a box as soon as the person casts his bote, however, the voters are not allowed to take the slips home. Various media reports said that the vote went for Bharatiya Janata Party, irrespective of button pressed, during the demonstration. The reports also claimed that Madhya Pradesh’s Chief Electoral Officer Saleena Singh ‘threatened’ journalists not to publish the news in newspapers, else they would be detained at the police station.
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Raising the issue, Aam Admi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal had met Election Commission officials on Saturday. The Delhi Chief Minister had alleged that ahead of Bhind bypolls in Madhya Pradesh next week, voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) machines were only dispensing BJP slips. Kejriwal had even demanded ballot paper voting for upcoming Delhi MCD polls. Now, with the latest statement of EC, it’s unlikely that ballot paper will be used in the upcoming elections.