Lok Sabha elections: Opposition parties spent night outside EVM strongrooms
The counting for Lok Sabha elections will begin on Thursday, and Opposition parties don't want to leave anything to chance.
This is why workers of several Opposition parties spent Tuesday night outside EVM strongrooms guarding them.
This round-the-clock vigil began after reports of EVM tampering emerged from a couple of states. However, the Election Commission has rubbished these allegations.
Here are the details.
Digvijaya Singh and his wife visited EVM strongroom in Bhopal
On Tuesday night, senior Congress leader Digvijaya Singh and his wife visited an EVM strongroom in Central Jail, Bhopal.
Singh is contesting for the Madhya Pradesh capital and has been fielded against BJP's Pragya Singh Thakur. The battle is being closely watched.
Similarly, in Chandigarh, Congress workers have been sitting outside EVM strongrooms since Monday to ensure the voting machines aren't moved.
BJP activists might indulge in mischief, said Sanjay Nirupam
Sanjay Nirupam, who is Congress' candidate from Mumbai North West, visited a counting center in Goregaon East. "All party workers and the people must keep vigil to find out whether the BJP activists are indulging in any mischief," he said.
Shashi Tharoor, who is seeking re-election from Thiruvananthapuram, may visit a strongroom today.
The movement near strongrooms is expected to continue till counting ends.
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Notably, EVMs aren't sent to strongrooms immediately after voting
It should be noted that once voting ends, EVMs aren't sent to strongrooms, immediately.
Firstly, the Presiding officer prepares an account of votes polled in machines. The officer then sends an attested copy to the polling agent.
The EVM is then sealed. Thereafter, the candidates and polling agents put their signatures on seals. This ensures EVMs aren't tampered.
Despite strict rules, Opposition parties believe EVMs aren't safe
In fact, when EVMs are moved towards strongrooms from the polling booths, party workers follow the vehicles. The strongroom isn't unlocked till the day of counting.
Though the entire process is extremely strict, Opposition parties have been crying conspiracy.
On Tuesday, as many as 22 Opposition leaders met EC. They complained that EVMs were moved without security and urged the body to act.
Facing criticism, EC dismissed all reports, called them factually incorrect
"Election Commission of India would like to emphatically and unambiguously clarify that all such reports and allegations are absolutely false and factually incorrect. The visuals seen viral on media do not pertain to any EVMs used during the polls," EC's statement read.
Meanwhile, BJP asked Opposition to accept 'defeat' with grace
Unsurprisingly, NDA has been supporting EC amid the entire EVM tampering row. On Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called it a "needless" controversy.
Echoing the same emotions, Union Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said no one complaints about EVM when they win.
"The BJP condemns their (opposition) conduct and will tell humbly to accept their defeat with grace," Prasad added.
Election Commission of India