Opposition parties on Saturday complained to the Election Commission alleging that the Bharatiya Janata Party’s name was displayed under its symbol on electronic voting machines during a mock drill in West Bengal’s Barrackpore constituency.
Congress leaders Abhishek Manu Singhvi and Ahmed Patel, as well as Trinamool Congress leaders Derek O’ Brien and Dinesh Trivedi met Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora, the Hindustan Times reported. The parties demanded that the poll panel should either remove all machines which mention “BJP” or the names of all other parties should be added.
“On EVMs, the letters BJP are visible under the party’s symbol,” Singhvi said. “No party can use the party’s name and its symbol together.”
Trivedi, the sitting MP from Barrackpore, claimed that the alleged presence of “BJP” below the party’s lotus symbol was a “clear fraud on the people” and “an attempt to hack EVMs”, PTI reported.
However, the Election Commission, in a letter to the chief electoral officer of West Bengal, said that the BJP used the same symbol in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, and there was nothing to suggest that it reflects the name of the party.
An unidentified senior Election Commission official told NDTV that the Opposition’s allegations are incorrect. “In mid-2013, the BJP approached the commission saying that the outline of their symbol is very light and should be bolder,” he said. “Based on their request, the outline of lotus was made bolder, and that included the water below the lotus symbol. These water lines look like F and P but not BJP.”
The Lok Sabha elections are being held in seven phases from April 11 to May 19, and the results will be declared on May 23. Polling is being held in West Bengal in all seven phases.