Umaria, Apr 2 (PTI) MP CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan today dubbed as “ridiculous” the Congress’ allegation that a VVPAT machine dispensed slips with the BJP symbol only during its trial run ahead of the April 9 bypoll for Ater assembly seat.
“The public demonstration of the VVPAT device at the bypoll-bound Ater has triggered a major political controversy.
A VVPAT machine linked to an EVM had allegedly dispensed only slips with the BJP symbol….
“Such allegations are ridiculous. The demonstration was carried out in front of journalists. Moreover, it’s the Election Commission which conducts the polls,” Chouhan told reporters here when asked about the row.
Following the controversy, Bhind Collector Ilayaraja T, Superintendent of Police Anil Singh Kushwaha and Ater Sub-Divisional Police Officer Indrveer Singh Bhadauria were transferred today to ensure “free and fair polls.” Congress leaders Digvijay Singh and Jyotiraditya Scindia, along with Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal and other opposition leaders had met Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi yesterday in Delhi.
They had lodged a complaint with the CEC saying a video of the trial run of the voter-verifiable paper audit trail machine attached to Electronic Voting Machine at Bhind on March 31 showed that it was dispensing slips only with the BJP symbol, no matter which button on the EVM was pressed.
The opposition parties have also demanded scrapping of EVMs for the upcoming elections.
Responding to a query, Chouhan said, “Had the intention been wrong, the demonstration wouldn’t have been conducted for the media.”
He said the Congress won the Punjab Assembly elections with the same EVMs, but when the BJP wrested power in Uttar Pradesh, a hue and cry was generated over the veracity of EVMs.
“Raising such controversies is not correct. The EC is monitoring this issue. The poll panel would continue to ensure free and fair elections in future as well,” the CM said.
Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trail or VVPAT is a machine which dispenses a slip with the symbol of the party for which a person votes for. The slip drops in a box and the voter cannot take it home.
The bypolls in Ater in Bhind district and Bandhavgarh in Umaria district will be held on April 9.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.