EVMs taken inside hotel in Bihar, poll officer served notice

PTI, May 7, 2019, 5:02 PM IST

Muzaffarpur: A poll official here was served a show cause notice on Tuesday for keeping six electronic voting machines (EVMs) inside a hotel room while voting was on in Bihar in the fifth phase. The district authorities have, however, asserted that none of the machines were used or their seals broken.

The matter had come to light on Monday when several local leaders of the opposition ‘Mahagathbandhan’ (grand alliance) noticed that poll-related paraphernalia were being taken inside a hotel by sector magistrate Awadhesh Kumar and raised an alarm.

A show cause notice has been issued to Kumar for his action which went against the rules. EVMs are not supposed to be kept at any place other than in the strong room or the assigned polling booth.

In addition to the sector magistrate, action may be taken against five police personnel who had helped him unload the EVMs at the hotel, Muzaffarpur district magistrate, Alok Ranjan Ghosh, who is also the district election officer, said.

He, however, dismissed allegations of suspected misuse saying none of the EVMs were used for voting and all were sealed. These were kept in reserve, meant for replacement in case of a snag being reported from anywhere.

A demonstration against it was staged by local leaders of ‘Mahagathbandhan’ (opposition alliance) partner Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP), a fledgling outfit, which has fielded its candidate Rajbhushan Chaudhary from the seat and the RJD which is the largest constituent of the opposition formation.

The Mahagathbandhan leaders alleged that the incident pointed towards an attempt to rig the polls by the local administration in favour of the NDA, which is in power in Bihar. The NDA has fielded sitting BJP MP Ajay Nishad from the seat.

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