The Election Commission today decided to send a team of top officials to Madhya Pradesh following media reports that VVPAT deployed for an assembly bypoll was only dispensing slips of the BJP symbol during a demonstration exercise. The Commission also received a complaint from the Congress in this regard. “The Commission has decided to depute a team of high level officers led by Bhanwar Lal, Chief Electoral Officer Andhra Pradesh, to supervise the by-elections in MP… “The integrity of the EVMs and the VVPATs to be used in the poll will be demonstrated to the complete satisfaction of all stakeholders by the team. This team will remain in the assembly constituency till the counting is over,” the poll panel said in a statement.
Bypolls in Ater Assembly constituency in Bhind district and at Bandhavgarh Assembly segment in Umaria district will take place on April 9. The reported faulty VVPAT was detected in Bhind during a familiarisation exercise. “We have sought a detailed report from the district election officer and would come up with a response in the evening,” a Commission spokesperson had said earlier.
The voters see Voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) slip for seven seconds, which would be an acknowledgment receipt for the party they voted for in the election. 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.
According to media reports, the receipt showed the vote going to the BJP, irrespective of button pressed during the demonstration. The reports also claimed that Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Madhya Pradesh, Saleena Singh was seen telling journalists that the news should not appear in newspapers, else they would be detained at the police station.