EVM ka ghapla? Chief Electoral Officer denies Congress's allegations on EVM discrepancies

Lok Sabha Elections 2024: Jairam Ramesh had earlier faced a rebuff from the Election Commission for alleging that Union Home Minister Amit Shah had intimidated 150 district officers.

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Courtesy: ANI

Lok Sabha Elections 2024: The Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Chhattisgarh has dismissed allegations made by the Congress party regarding discrepancies in the numbers of stored Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) units. Former Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel and senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh had raised concerns on social media, but the CEO asserted that these claims were "not based on facts."

CEO's Clarification

In response to the accusations, the CEO stated, "The alleged mismatch in EVM numbers shared with the INC candidate of Rajnandgaon PC is not based on facts. The EVMs used during polls are exactly according to the list of machines shared by the Returning Officer after randomisation with contesting candidates." This statement was posted on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Bhupesh Baghel's Allegations

Bhupesh Baghel, in a detailed post on X, claimed discrepancies in the EVM numbers recorded in Form 17C after voting in his constituency, Rajnandgaon. He highlighted that the numbers of several machines had changed, potentially affecting thousands of votes. Baghel stated, "Similar complaints have been received from many other Lok Sabha constituencies. We are complaining to the State Election Officer."

Jairam Ramesh supported Baghel’s claims, sharing his post and commenting, "This matter is being raised immediately before the Election Commission. It is hoped that the Election Commission will take action quickly."

Previous Allegations and Responses

Jairam Ramesh had earlier faced a rebuff from the Election Commission for alleging that Union Home Minister Amit Shah had intimidated 150 district officers. Ramesh was asked to provide evidence by 7 PM, but the poll body refused to grant him additional time.

BJP's Reaction

The BJP has often mocked the Opposition's complaints about EVMs, suggesting that it is their go-to explanation for electoral defeats. They note that the Opposition only questions EVM integrity when they lose, not when they win.

Supreme Court's Stand on EVMs

The Supreme Court has consistently supported the use of EVMs, rejecting calls for a return to ballot papers. This endorsement came during the election period, reinforcing the credibility of EVMs in the electoral process.

Concerns Over EVM Security

The Opposition has also raised concerns about the security of EVM storage units. For instance, Supriya Sule alleged that CCTV cameras at an EVM strongroom in Maharashtra were switched off for about 45 minutes. However, the Returning Officer for the constituency clarified that only the "display was temporarily closed," without providing further details.

As the final phase of voting approaches, these allegations and clarifications continue to fuel debates over the integrity and security of the electoral process. It remains to be seen how these issues will impact the public's trust in the system and the final election outcomes.