Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday asked party workers to stay alert in the next 24 hours amid fears that Electronic Voting Machines used in the Lok Sabha elections are at risk of being replaced, and asked them not to be disheartened by exit poll projections.
“The next 24 hours are very crucial,” Gandhi tweeted. “Stay alert and vigilant. Do not be scared. You are fighting for the truth. Do not be disheartened by the propaganda of fake exit polls. Believe in yourself and the Congress. Your hard work will not go to waste. Jai Hind.”
Opposition parties in several states kept round-the-clock vigil outside storage rooms, where the voting machines are kept in high security, on Tuesday night, NDTV reported. Senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh, who is the party’s candidate in Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh, and his wife visited voting machine store room at the central jail in the city. In Uttar Pradesh, Congress workers sat outside the EVM store rooms in Meerut and Rae Bareli, from where Sonia Gandhi is seeking a re-election.
On Monday, Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra issued a message similar to Rahul Gandhi’s, asking party workers not to be disheartened by rumours and exit poll results, PTI reported. She had urged them to be alert at their respective strong rooms and counting centres.
Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam leader Kanimozhi also claimed she saw voting machines being moved in Tamil Nadu’s Thoothukudi district, NDTV reported. The two-time Rajya Sabha MP said she has deployed agents who are watching CCTV images streamed from outside a strongroom.
Earlier in the day, the Election Commission dismissed claims by Opposition parties that the machines were being moved around in the days ahead of the counting of votes. According to the poll panel, a number of videos showing voting machines being transported are of “reserve EVMs” that are usually kept for cases of malfunctioning at the time of voting.