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Assam: EVM found in BJP MLA’s car in Barak Valley region, polling officers suspended; Oppn cries foulplay

SNS Web | Assam |

After the conclusion of the second phase of polling in the Assam assembly elections on Thursday, Election Commission polling staff reportedly used a private vehicle belonging to a BJP candidate to transport an electronic voting machine (EVM) in the Barak valley region in Karimganj district.

According to media reports, the EVM was allegedly being taken to a strong room after the voting ended, however, a huge mob comprised mainly of opposition supporters surrounded the car and started attacking it. The locals pulled out the members of the polling party from the car.

The police had to intervene, resorting to baton-charging, and firing in the air to disperse the crowd gathered there. The video of the incident was widely shared on social media.

According to sources close to ANI, the car, Election Commission polling team was riding in, had broken down, and then they took a lift in a passing private vehicle that was later identified as belonging to a BJP MLA named Krishnendu Paul, a candidate in the assembly election.

Reportedly, the polling officers were not aware that it was a BJP MLA’s vehicle.

According to media reports, the polling team took a lift in the private car as the Sector Officer appointed by the EC did not have any arrangements for another vehicle.

ANI further reported that their sources also claimed that the EVM was not tampered with during the crowd attack & is in the custody of the administration.

Meanwhile, the four polling officials deputed in Assam’s Karimganj have been suspended by the EC. And the chief polling authority has also ordered repolling in the booth from where the EVM was procured.

Congress leaders Priyanka Gandhi, and Gaurav Gogoi attacked the BJP over the incident and asked for a detailed investigation into the matter.

“Every time there is an election videos of private vehicles caught transporting EVM’s show up. Unsurprisingly they have the following things in common: 1. The vehicles usually belong to BJP candidates or their associates. 2. The videos are taken as one off incidents and dismissed as aberrations, 3. 3. The BJP uses its media machinery to accuse those who exposed the videos as sore losers,” Priyanka Gandhi tweeted.

“It is the same script in every election- Election Commission car broke down, EVM machines transferred to car belonging to BJP, later officials find out after public express their anger. Election Commission needs to save itself before public trust is eroded completely,” Gaurav Gogoi tweeted.

Over 73.44 lakh voters are eligible to cast their votes in the second phase of the elections. Of them, 37,34,537 are male voters and 36,09,959 are female voters, while 135 are third gender voters.

The voting was held on 8,998 polling stations and 556 of them are all-women polling stations. A total of 345 candidates in 39 constituencies across 13 districts were in the fray in the second phase of voting.

Polling for the third and last phase will be held on April 6 and the counting of votes will take place on May 2.