New Delhi [India], April 2 (ANI): Krishnendu Paul, BJP candidate from Assam's Patharkandi, has rejected opposition allegations involving an EVM at Karimganj and said that it belonged to Ratabari constituency and poll officials sought help to transport it due to inclement weather after their vehicle broke down.
He said polling officials were stopping other vehicles for help and they also asked for help from his brother on their way to Karimganj.
"After polling ended, I came back home. My home is in Karimganj and I am contesting elections from Patharkandi. My brother was coming from Patharkandi and it was raining. The presiding officer and police asked for help from my brother as their vehicle developed some problem 10-12 kilometres from Karimganj. They were stopping other vehicles for help so they also asked for help from my brother," Paul told ANI in a telephonic conversation.
"When my brother reached two-three kilometres near Karimganj, there was a big traffic jam. Some people shouted that EVMs are in MLA's vehicle. I was not in the car which belongs to my wife," he said.
"On humanitarian grounds, officials asked for help and our brother helped them. That EVM has nothing to do with my constituency," he added.
Following the incident, the Election Commission on Friday suspended four officials. The Presiding Officer was also issued a show-cause notice for violation of the transport protocol.
"The PO and three other officials have been placed under suspension," EC said in a release.
It said that although the seals of EVM were found intact, the commission has decided to do a re-poll at number 149- Indira MV School of LAC 1 Ratabari (SC) as an added precaution.
The commission has also sought a report from the Special Observer on the incident.
It said that the vehicle which was allotted by the transport cell of the election branch, to the party carrying the polling party broke down, and "due to the traffic congestion and the poor weather condition, the party became detached from its convoy".
"At about 9.20 pm, the polling party hailed a passing vehicle and boarded it along with their EVM and other things without checking the ownership of the vehicle. As reported by the polling party, they moved towards Karimganj and as they reached Kanaishil in Karimganj at about 10.00 pm, they had to slow down in the traffic. As they slowed down, they were surrounded by a mob of about 50 people who started pelting stones at them," the Commission said.
The EC report said that as the vehicle-carrying polling party slowed down, it was surrounded by a mob of about 50 people who started pelting stones at them.
"The mob also started abusing them and did not allow the vehicle to pass. When they asked the leader of the mob, he replied that it was the vehicle of Krishnendu Paul who is a contesting candidate of a neighbouring constituency (Patharkandi LAC-2)...the antecedents of the vehicle were ascertained and it was found to be was registered in the name of Madhumita Paul, wife of contesting candidate, Krishnendu Paul" it added.
The second phase of polling for Assam assembly elections was held in 39 constituencies on Thursday. (ANI)