Congress sounds Election Commission on ‘strong room discrepancies’ in Assam

Complains about safety of EVMs and control units in nine Assembly constituencies

The Assam unit of the Congress has written to the Election Commission complaining about “serious discrepancies” in respect of the safety of strong rooms, EVMs and control units under nine Assembly constituencies in three districts.

These constituencies are Dhakuakhana in Lakhimpur district, Chabua, Dibrugarh, Lahowal and Moran in Dibrugarh district, and Dudhnoi, Goalpara East, Goalpara West and Jaleswar in Goalpara district.

In a letter to the Chief Election Commissioner on Thursday, State president Ripun Bora cited several instances of “serious discrepancies” to seek the poll panel’s intervention.

For instance, tags/slips bearing the number of ballot unit, control unit and VVPAT in respect of 144 Mohtali LP School and 180 No. 13 Bamtow LP School polling stations under the Dhakuakhana constituency were found near the strong room, he said.

Congress candidates of Chabua, Dibrugarh, Lahowal and Moran constituencies lodged complaints with the district election officer following mismatch of the identification numbers of EVMs, control units, ballot units and VVPATs with form number 17C, Mr. Bora said.

The two-part form 17C requires polling agents to sign an account of votes recorded and the result of counting.

The four Congress candidates in Goalpara district filed a joint petition to the district election officer regarding three boys entering the strong room and the control room on April 28 with electrical devices “on the pretext of some repairing works” in the closed-circuit television unit, Mr. Bora said.

“I request you to allow counting of VVPAT in respect of four constituencies of Goalpara district in the interest of maintaining transparency and impartiality in the counting of votes on May 2.”

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