Baseless observations, allegations: EC's 'veiled' rebuttal to AAP

| Updated: Apr 04, 2017 04:45 IST

New Delhi [India], Apr. 3 (ANI): In a veiled attack on Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) convenor and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's media briefing earlier in the day, the Election Commission of India (ECI) said that certain baseless observations and allegations were made by a "leader of a political party today in a press conference regarding the use of EVMs" and clarified its position. "The EVMs comprising the Control Unit (CU) and Ballot Unit (BU) used in any election shall be kept in a strong room after declaration of results and shall not be accessed by anyone till the period of filing of election petition is over. The election petition has to be filed within 45 days. However, in case of VVPAT machines, the printed paper slips have to be retrieved at the time of counting and sealed in a paper envelope and only these sealed paper slips have to be kept inside the strong room alongwith the EVMs. The VVPAT machines are not required by the law to be retained in strong room for the purpose of election petition and are available for use in any other election. However, in the on-going bye-polls only VVPAT machines which were kept in reserve and not used during the actual poll, have been redeployed ," the statement said. "The Commission would like to point out that these allegations are completely baseless and made without verifying the facts. No EVMs have been moved from Uttar Pradesh for the purpose of Bye-polls in Madhya Pradesh. Required number of VVPAT machines were moved from different States for use in Bye-polls as per the existing policy of the ECI," the statement added. The statement further said that the report of special officer deputed to inquire into allegations of multiple printing of paper slips of a particular political party at Ater (Bhind) was awaited and would be made public. Earlier in the day, Kejriwal once again expressed doubts over the security features installed in the machines while demanding the upcoming civic polls in the capital be conducted using paper ballots. "It doesn't look like all machines are tampered. Some are being used in a few areas. I wrote to the EC today. We have the experts to study the software, if you don't have them. Give the EVMs to us. We will make the software public," Kejriwal said. The Delhi Chief Minister also cited the example of the recent trial of VVPAT machines conducted by the ECI in Madhya Pradesh and demanded for elections to be held using paper ballots. A day before, the AAP termed the ECI's reply to its allegations as "unfortunate" asserting that the poll watchdog should have taken an action against the issue rather than making such "political statements." "It is unfortunate that instead of taking due action, the Election Commission is issuing political statement on the issue of EVM tampering," a statement from the AAP said. The ECI had advised the former to introspect about its "unsatisfactory poll performance" in the assembly elections rather than attributing it to the alleged failure of the EVMs. "It is for your party to introspect as to why your party could not perform as per your expectations and it is unfair on the part of your party to attribute unsatisfactory poll performance of your party to the alleged tamperability of EVMs. The Commission is fully satisfied with the tamper proof functioning of the ECI-EVMs," the ECI said in the letter. (ANI)