UP Election: Varanasi Commissioner Deepak Agarwal seemed to accept that there was a protocol error in the movement of EVMs. However, he insisted that the voting machines in question were for training purposes only.
Varanasi: The day after Akhilesh Yadav’s blatant allegation that Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) were illegally moved to Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, just 48 hours before the vote count in the elections in State, his party tweeted an official statement on camera admitting there had been “cases”. Speaking to reporters last night, Varanasi Commissioner Deepak Agarwal appeared to accept that there was a protocol error in the EVM movement. However, he insisted that the voting machines in question were for training purposes only.
“If you are talking about the protocol for the circulation of EVMs, there was an error in the protocol, I accept that. But I can guarantee you that it is impossible to remove the machines used for voting,” said Agarwal, explaining that there had been cameras, closed circuit, security guards and representatives of political parties at the counting centers. “Political party workers can also sit outside the centers to monitor,” the commissioner added. The Samajwadi Party shared the comment on Twitter and said it was an admission that protocol had not been followed.
“There are reports of violations in the EVMs of various districts. On what order is this happening? Are those responsible under pressure from the Prime Minister’s Office (Yogi Adityanath)? The Election Commission must clarify “, wrote the Samajwadi party, tagging the electorate. On Tuesday, Akhilesh Yadav accused the ruling BJP of trying to “steal” the election and said EVMs were evacuated from a counting center in three trucks in Varanasi.
“In Varanasi we captured a truck with the EVMs and two others fled. If the government is not trying to steal votes then they should at least explain why there was no security when moving the EVMs “Yadav said. He also said that the authorities had been ordered to slow down the vote count in places where the BJP candidate’s chances of victory are lower. Instructions were provided specifically for 47 seats where the BJP’s margin of victory in the 2017 elections was less than 5,000 votes, Yadav said. BJP leader and UP Deputy Prime Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya dismissed party leader Samajwadi’s accusation and said: “I ask Akhilesh Yadav to be patient. What is in the EVMs will be known on March 10 (Thursday) when the votes will be counted”.
After the month-long election, results will be announced for Uttar Pradesh and four other states as votes are counted on Thursday. Exit polls have predicted a big victory for the BJP in Uttar Pradesh. Akhilesh Yadav, who is the BJP’s main challenger in this election, is expected to finish second in the race to win India’s most politically viable state.