NEW DELHI: Congress president Rahul Gandhi made no bones about his suspicions about the role of electronic voting machines (EVMs) as he asked party workers to keep an eye on strongrooms in five states where Assembly polls ended on Friday. Results will be out December 11, the day the Parliament’s Winter Session opens. For Rahul, the stakes are high in the three central states of Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan which the Congress hopes to wrest back from the BJP ahead of the 2019 parliamentary elections.
“Congress party workers, be vigilant after polls close today. In MP, EVM’s behaved strangely after polling: Some stole a school bus and vanished for 2 days! Others slipped away and were found drinking in a hotel,” Rahul tweeted, referring to two recent incidents in Madhya Pradesh where a school bus without a number plate was caught carrying EVMs 48 hours after polling on November 28. A few machines were later found in a hotel room allegedly occupied by BJP supporters. Two days ago, the Election Commission removed Khurai Returning Officer and SDO Vikas Singh acting on the Congress’ complaint.
The Congress’ suspicion is fuelled by an internal assessment that faced with a tough election, the BJP may resort to tampering with the machines. Rahul used the occasion to take a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who campaigned in all the states. “In Modi’s India, the EVMs have mysterious powers. Stay alert,” Rahul tweeted. Though Rahul mentioned only about MP in his tweet, party managers have expressed doubts over the conduct of poll officials in Chhattisgarh also.