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Madhya Pradesh EVM scandal: EC to fly in officers to oversee by-polls



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Madhya Pradesh, 2 April: After reports of EVM tampering in Madhya Pradesh emerged, the Election Commission on Saturday decided to have a supervise visit by the chief electoral officer of Andhra Pradesh and other polling officers from Delhi.

As per the NDTV reports, the officers are slated to take a stock of the by-polls to two Assembly seats in Madhya Pradesh on April 9.

The decision was made to relinquish the doubts of Opposition parties after a video of an Electronic Voting Machine trial showed the paper trail attached to it generating a receipt for the Bharatiya Janata Party when MP Chief Electoral Officer Saleena Singh selected the button for the Samajwadi Party.

Read More: EVM scandal in Madhya Pradesh: VVPAT receipt shows vote going to BJP irrespective of button pressed

After leaders of the Congress and Aam Aadmi Party went to the Election Commission, alleging EVM tampering again, the polling monitor said two teams of EC officers, along with technical experts, will be sent in Madhya Pradesh to ensure that the EVMs and Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trails used in the by-polls were “to the complete satisfaction of all stakeholders”.

“The commission is committed to conduct the entire electoral process transparently, fairly and to the complete satisfaction of stakeholders, including esteemed voters,” the EC said in a statement. It has also transferred the collector and superintendent of police of Bhind – one of the constituencies that will go to the polls on April 9 – out of the district, Hindustan Times reported.

The EC has ordered a probe into the faulty EVMS in Madhya Pradesh, even though it had maintained earlier that the voting machines were tamper-proof. Opposition parties had alleged EVM manipulation after the BJP on with massive majorities in both Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand in the Assembly elections last month.

 Wefornews Bureau


Congress workers protest outside EC office, detained



congress workers protest-min

New Delhi, Dec 14 : Several Congress workers were detained on Thursday as they staged a protest march against the Election Commission for issuing a notice against party’s President-elect Rahul Gandhi for his TV interviews but alleged that it had failed to apply the same standards for Prime Minister Narendra Modi for holding a roadshow after casting his vote.

The party also submitted a fresh memorandum to the EC on Thursday demanding action against Modi for the roadshow in Ahmedabad. In its memorandum, the party called upon the EC to follow the dharma of the Constitution, implement the law and register an FIR against the Prime Minister.

Police detained Congress workers who were marching to the Election Commission in protest against Modi’s roadshow in Gujarat after casting his vote on Thursday.

Party workers were stopped by police outside Sardar Patel Bhawan near Patel Chowk.

“ECI is a constitutional institution. It is not dependant on anyone. Democracy and election process are being being murdered. This is surprising since we gave them prima facie evidence – a video of Modiji’s roadshow. Why was there no notice against him,” said Congress leader and Mahila Congress chief Sushmita Dev.

“Notice has been issued against us, We are not sad about it. But why notice has not been issued against them (BJP),” asked Dev.

“When Modiji is appealing to the people on December 8 to vote for BJP on December 9, is that not violation of model code of conduct. Why notice is not being issued to them?” Dev added.

Dev said: “BJP is in power, they can go anywhere. We are in opposition, so the police has stopped us. This is what is happening in the country. They are misusing power in front of the ECI.”


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Opposition slams ‘inaction’ by EC, says it has failed to uphold constitutional mandate



Opposition Parties Meet
Opposition Parties Meet, Photo Tweeted by ANI

New Delhi, Dec 14 : Opposition parties on Thursday strongly criticised the Election Commission over its “inaction” regarding alleged violation of the Model Code of Conduct by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Gujarat and said the “attitude” of the poll body has cast an “ominous shadow” on its “credibility”.

In a statement issued by opposition parties after they meet here at Parliament House to chalk out the strategy for the winter session beginning on Friday, they said, “The opposition parties strongly criticised the violation of model code of conduct by Narendra Modi and his cabinet colleagues during the Gujarat elections and on the day of polling when he held a road show in Ahmedabad.

“Inaction of the Election Commission is indeed shocking as it has failed to uphold its constitutional mandate under Article 324,” the statement read.

The meeting of the opposition leaders was attended by Congress leaders Ghulam Nabi Azad, Mallikarjun Kharge, Anand Sharma, Jyotiraditya Scindia, National Conference leader Farooq Abdullah, SP’s Naresh Agrawal, CPI’s D. Raja, TMC’s Derek O’Brien, NCP’s Tariq Anwar and RJD’s J.P. Yadav.

The opposition leaders said that instead of taking action for violations, the poll panel has allowed violations by the ruling BJP and been indulgent in allowing the Prime Minister to dedicate the submarine ‘Kalvari’ on the day of the poll.

“These actions directly influence the voters to the advantage of the BJP, the ruling party.

“This attitude of the EC has cast an ominous shadow on the credibility of the EC and the integrity of the electoral process,” it said.

The opposition party leaders also expressed their disappointment and outrage over the “hasty decision” to disqualify Sharad Yadav and Ali Anwar from the membership of Rajya Sabha, “without following due process”.

“The decision is unfair and unjust,” the leaders said.

The opposition parties will meet again on Monday to chalk out the strategy for the winter session.


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Gujarat battle ends amid Congress-BJP war of words




Gandhinagar, Dec 14 : The second and final phase of the bitterly fought Gujarat Assembly polls ended on Thursday evening amid a war of words between the ruling BJP and an aggressive Congress.

Balloting closed at 5 p.m. with an estimated 60 per cent of the 2.22 crore electorate exercising their franchise in 93 constituencies across 14 districts of northern and central Gujarat.

Nearly 50 per cent polling was seen by 3 p.m., the Election Commission said. One official said the overall polling could even cross 70 per cent.

Thursday’s fight for Gujarat, ruled by the BJP for 22 long years, ended more or less peacefully. Voters, however, complained about malfunctioning Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) at some places.

The sluggish voter turnout in the first few hours due to the winter chill gave way to visible enthusiasm as the day progressed. Long queues of men and women were seen outside polling booths almost everywhere.

But with the stakes high in Gujarat, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress were locked in a war of words after Prime Minister Narendra Modi voted in Ahmedabad and then went around the area, flashing his finger with the voter mark.

A furious Congress complained to the Election Commission that Modi held a roadshow in Ranip area.

Afer casting his vote, Modi stood on the steps of his vehicle and waved to the cheering crowds. His 97-year-old mother Hiraba, who lives in Gandhinagar with Modi’s younger brother Pankaj Modi, also voted in Gandhinagar North.

The Congress accused the Election Commission of ignoring the BJP’s and Modi’s violations of the model code of conduct. Congress activists staged a demonstration outside the office of the poll panel in New Delhi.

BJP veteran L.K. Advani, the Lok Sabha member from Gandhinagar, cast his vote at a booth in Hindi Vidyalaya in Shahpur area of the old city. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley voted at a booth in Chimanbhai Institute at Vejalpur area.

Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel too voted on Thursday. Patidar leader Hardik Patel, who has virtually thrown his lot with the Congress, exercised his franchise in Viramgam.

A skirmish took place between two groups in Hasanpur village in Visnagar at Mehsana. The police used batons to disperse the mob. Ten persons have hospitalised.

The districts were elections were held on Thursday included Banaskantha, Patan, Sabarkantha, Mehsana, Gandhinagar, Ahmedabad, Aravalli, Mahisagar, Panchmahal, Dahod, Kheda, Anand, Vadodara and Chhota Udepur.

A total of 25,575 polling booths were set up in 14,523 places.

There were several complaints regarding malfunctioning EVMs in and around Vadodara city, halting polling temporarily.

A clash also erupted in Dhanera town in Banaskantha district, police said.

The first round of polling to elect a 182-member Gujarat Assembly took place on December 9. The votes will be counted on Monday.


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