“Doubts Not Clear”: Congress After Election Officer’s EVM Explanation

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A controversy has broken out in Madhya Pradesh over the delay in EVMs reaching the collection centre.

Bhopal:

Madhya Pradesh's top poll officer on Monday sought to allay doubts about the security of Electronic Voting Machines, saying they were safe under a three-layered surveillance system backed by CCTV cameras.

The assertion by state Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) V L Kantha Rao came as Congress raised doubts over the security of EVMs which contain the votes cast in the November 28 election.

"All the machines reached the strongrooms by the morning of November 29. These strongrooms were locked in the presence of candidates, observers and other officials," Mr Rao said. He added that there is a three-tier security cordon around the strongrooms – central security forces are deployed near the strong room, state armed personnel posted in the second layer and local police are manning the outer layer.

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"A security protocol is being followed and nobody, including the returning officer, is allowed to enter with a mobile phone and without due entry in the register. The candidates and their representatives are also allowed to keep watch and tents have been installed for them," he said.

"We have already given the serial numbers of EVMs used to the candidates and a report in this regard was submitted to the Election Commission of India," Mr Rao said.

State Congress spokesman Pankaj Chaturvedi was not satisfied with the CEO's assertion about EVM security. He said a delegation led by Madhya Pradesh Congress president Kamal Nath would visit the Election Commission in New Delhi Tuesday and convey their doubts about the security of EVMs in the BJP-ruled state.

"Our doubts are still not clear. It is still not clear how EVMs reached as late as 48 hours in Sagar, Khargone and a few other places. "It is also not clear why 1,500 EVMs were replaced across the state during the polling. BJP is making all efforts to rig the polls," Mr Chaturvedi said.

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