The Election Commission on Wednesday ordered the removal of the returning officer in the Khurai Assembly constituency in Madhya Pradesh, after some electronic voting machines reached the strong room 48 hours after polling. Voting had taken place in Madhya Pradesh on November 28, and results will be declared on December 11.
The poll body’s order said it had sacked Vikas Singh and appointed Tanvi Hooda in his place, PTI reported. Assistant Returning Officer Rajesh Mehra was already been suspended.
On November 30, several Congress workers protested outside the collection centre after the machines arrived late. State Home Minister Bhupendra Singh of the Bharatiya Janata Party is the MLA from Khurai, where the machines were kept.
The Congress alleged on December 1 that the EVMs were taken to a hotel owned by Singh before being brought to the collection centre. In response, the electoral officer of Madhya Pradesh said that these EVMs were not used for voting but were kept as “reserve”.
Congress leader Naresh Saraf moved the Madhya Pradesh High Court on Tuesday, seeking direction from the court to the government to set up a Special Investigation Team to inquire into alleged irregularities in handling EVMs in Bhopal, Satna, Sagar, Shahjapur and Khandwa. Senior Congress leaders Ahmed Patel, Kamal Nath and Kapil Sibal met Election Commission officials in New Delhi about the complaints against EVMs in Madhya Pradesh.
The Congress had also claimed that electricity in a strong room in Bhopal failed for one and a half hours. On December 2, the Election Commission admitted that there was power outage which led to the failure of CCTV cameras for over an hour, but claimed that all EVMs were safe.