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ECI orders repolling in Ratabari, suspends officers involved in Assam 'EVM controversy'

BusinessToday.In     April 2, 2021

The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Friday ordered repolling in polling booth 149 of Ratabari, Assam. The order has been given following public outrage over an EVM which was found being transported in a car that belonged to Krishnendu Paul who is a BJP candidate from Patharkandi. A video of the EVM kept in Paul's car had gone viral on social media on April 1.

ECI has suspended the polling officers who were responsible for the transportation of the EVMs. The viral video was originally tweeted out by a Guwahati-based journalist. The video was uploaded shortly after the second phase of polling for the Assam Legislative assembly elections was completed on Thursday.

On Friday, the video was retweeted by Congress Leader Priyanka Gandhi. Gandhi complained that every time that there is an election, EVMs are found being transported in private vehicles.

She added that these incidents have a few things in common which are that the private vehicles usually belongs to a BJP candidate, videos captured are passed off as one-off incidents and dismissed as aberrations. Launching an attack at BJP, she said that the party uses its media machinery to accuse those who expose such incidents as sore losers. "The fact is that too many such incidents are being reported and nothing is being done about them," she added.

In another tweet, Gandhi said that the ECI must act decisively on such complaints. She added that all national political parties need to re-evaluate using EVMs for polling.

In response to the whole incident, ECI in a press statement released on Friday said that a vehicle carrying the EVM and the polling officers had broken down on Thursday due to traffic congestion and heavy rains. ECI explained that the sector officer was immediately informed about this development and an alternate vehicle was being arranged for the polling officers.

Meanwhile, the polling officers whose car had busted, arranged a vehicle by themselves. Later after it was found out that the alternate car they had arranged belonged to the BJP candidate."On examination, the polled EVM comprising of BU, CU and VVPAT was found to be with its seal intact without any damage whatsoever. All the items have been deposited in the strong room," the ECI statement had added.

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