Amidst EVM tampering row, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has issued a nationwide alert to the states regarding the possibility of violence in different parts of the country in connection with the counting of votes on Thursday.
The MHA has also asked the States and Union Territories to maintain law and order, peace and public tranquillity during the whole counting process.
The seven-phased polls came to an end on May 19. Counting of votes will take place on Thursday and the results will be declared on the same day.
Most of the exit polls have predicted a thumping victory for the BJP-led NDA alliance in the Lok Sabha elections.
The States and UTs were further asked to take adequate measures for the security of strongrooms and venues of counting of votes. This is in the wake of alleged calls given and statements made in various quarters for inciting violence and causing disruption on the day of the counting of votes.
Controversy erupted as reports of electronic voting machines being transferred from strongrooms emerged from various parts of the country.
There were reports of alleged EVM manipulation in strongrooms in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.
Meanwhile, in Bihar, the RJD shared pictures of voting machines allegedly being transported in a vehicle in Saran.
On Monday night, Bahujan Samaj Party candidate Afzal Ansari sat on a protest outside the strongroom in Ghazipur — where EVMs are being kept — to prevent them from being transported out in a vehicle.
In Mirzapur, Congress candidate Lalitesh Pati Tripathi has sent a letter to the poll observer questioning the presence of ‘additional EVMs’ in the strongroom.
Two weeks ago, a similar movement of EVMs was reported from Amethi and the district administration claimed that ‘unused’ EVMs were being sent to places where polling had not yet taken place.
In Chandigarh, Congress workers stationed themselves outside strongrooms to ensure there was no movement of machines.
In Tamil Nadu, DMK leader M Kanimozhi said she saw voting machines being moved in Thoothukudi district, from where she is seeking election.
However, the Election Commission has dismissed the reports as “baseless and frivolous”.
The Commission clarified in a statement saying that the reports of movement of EVMs are absolutely false. Visuals seen viral on media do not pertain to any EVM used during the polls, it said.
The aspersions in clips being used in media merely pertain to the storage or movement of reserve unused EVMs, the poll body further said.
Meanwhile, the poll body today turned down the demand of 22 Opposition parties to count the VVPAT slips first at randomly selected five polling booths.
The Commission said the VVPAT verification will be done after the counting of votes and not before.