Assam: Repolling after EVMs found in BJP candidate’s car

Election Commission ordered repolling in polling station 179 of Ratabari seat in Assam, a day after a video surfaced on social media which showed Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in the car of Patharkandi BJP candidate Krishnendu Paul.

The officers responsible for the transportation of EVMs have been suspended.

“The Polling party of 149-Indira MV School of LAC 1 Ratabari (SC) met with an unfortunate incident on April 1, 2021. The polling party comprised a Presiding Officer and 3 polling personnel. They were accompanied by police personnel comprising a constable and a homeguard, ” the poll body said.

The Election Commission went on to say: “At about 9:20 pm, polling party hailed a passing vehicle & boarded it along with their EVM & other things without checking ownership of the vehicle. As reported by them, they moved towards Karimganj&as they reached Kanaishil, Karimganj at 11:00 pm, they had to slow down in traffic. As they slowed down, they were surrounded by a mob of about 50 people which started pelting stones at them. The mob also started abusing them and did not allow the vehicle to pass…When they asked the leader of mob, he replied that it was vehicle of Krishnendu Paul, a contesting candidate of Patharkandi & he levelled allegations that EVM was being taken to be tampered with. They realised that something was amiss and alerted the Sector Officer. However, a larger crowd had gathered by then and they were attacked and held hostage by a mob along with the EVM in the vehicle at 9:45 pm alleging that the EVM was being taken to be tampered with.”

The video which had surfaced after the second phase of polling concluded in Assam on Thursday, was tweeted out by Assam-based journalist Atanu Bhuyan.

Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi responded to the incident, saying the Election Commission should act decisively on such complaints and that a serious re-evaluation of the use of EVMs needs to be carried out by all national parties.

She said: “Every time there is an election videos of private vehicles caught transporting EVM’s show up. Unsurprisingly they have the following things in common: 1) The vehicles usually belong to BJP candidates or their associates. 2) The videos are taken as one off incidents and dismissed as aberrations. 3) The BJP uses its media machinery to accuse those who exposed the videos as sore losers.”