The Election Commission has ordered an inquiry into reports that the electronic voting machines in Madhya Pradesh were malfunctioning, reported PTI. The EC has sought a report about the incident where the voter-verifiable paper audit trail machine generated an acknowledgment slip with the Bharatiya Janata Party symbol even though the chief electoral officer had pressed the button for the Samajwadi Party candidate during a demonstration exercise. Bhind will go for Assembly by-polls next week.
“We have sought a detailed report from district election officer and would come up with a response in the evening,” an EC spokesperson said. The Congress, which is in opposition in the state, took up the issue and moved the EC seeking scrapping of EVMs.
However, Chief Electoral Officer Saleena Singh denied the allegations of the machines malfunctioning. “When you have a fully calibrated machine, this cannot happen like this,” she told Hindustan Times. “But they [journalists] misrepresented the facts without trying to understand the whole issue.”
The video of the incident had gone viral on social media after it surfaced on Friday. Singh is also seen in the video telling journalists to refrain from reporting the incident or face police action.
The Congress, the Bahujan Samaj Party and the Aam Aadmi Party have been saying that the EVMs were tampered with in the recently concluded state elections. Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa went to the polls in February and March. The Bharatiya Janata Party won a clear majority in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand and managed to form governments in Manipur and Goa with the help of allies. The Congress formed government in Punjab.
On March 24, the Supreme Court issued a notice to the EC based on a petition, which alleged that the EVMs used in the recent Assembly elections and Mumbai civic polls had been manipulated. The petitioner wanted the machines to be inspected by foreign software experts.