The EC mentioned the personnel — presiding officer Sahab Uddin Talukdar and three others — solely later came upon whom the automobile belonged to, however they have been acted towards for violating guidelines meant to guard the sanctity of EVMs.
The polled EVMs have been discovered intact, however the EC directed repoll on the polling sales space involved in Ratabari (SC) be accomplished “as added precaution”.
Based on a report acquired from the particular observer recommending motion towards the armed escort officer for forsaking the stranded polling get together and never guaranteeing their secure arrival on the vacation spot, the EC additionally ordered the suspension of armed escort officer Luhit Gohai and sub-inspector of police (armed department) of third Assam Police Battalion, Titabor.
The particular observer, nonetheless, mentioned there gave the impression to be no floor for change of the Ratabari (SC) returning officer because the incident seemed to be an remoted one, brought on by “total negligence and foolishness of the presiding officer and his team”. The report additionally dominated out any deliberate or mala fide intention within the incident, aimed to disrupt the polling course of.
The presiding officer has been issued a present trigger discover for violation of the transport protocol.
Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra slammed the EC and questioned the “coincidence” of the stranded polling get together discovering a automobile of the BJP candidate to hitch a trip.
The EC mentioned the polling get together, after completion of elections on Thursday, was returning in a convoy escorted by an armed escort led by police officer Luhit Gohain. The automobile broke down round 9 pm because it approached Nilam Bazaar. Due to the visitors congestion and inclement climate, the polling get together turned indifferent from the convoy. The get together alighted from the automobile and knowledgeable sector officer Ajoy Sutradhar by phone. While the sector officer was arranging one other automobile, the polling get together determined to organise a automobile by itself in order to achieve the fabric receipt centre sooner.
At about 9.20 pm, the polling get together hailed a passing automobile and boarded it together with the EVM and different materials, with out checking the possession of the automobile. As reported by the polling get together, they moved in direction of Karimganj and as they reached Kanaishil at about 10 pm, they needed to decelerate within the visitors. At this level, they have been surrounded by a mob of about 50 individuals which began pelting stones at them and didn’t enable the automobile to go. When they inquired, an individual replied that it was the automobile of Krishnendu Paul, a candidate within the neighbouring constituency (Patharkandi LAC-2) and alleged that the EVM was being taken to be tampered with.
The EC mentioned it was solely then that the polling get together realised that one thing was amiss and alerted the sector officer. However, a bigger crowd gathered by then and the polling get together was attacked and held hostage together with the EVM.
Meanwhile, the antecedents of the automobile have been ascertained and it was discovered to be registered within the title of Madhumita Paul, spouse of the BJP candidate in Patharkandi.
The mob, the EC mentioned, had turned violent and broken the automobile windshield with stones. During the course of the stone pelting, SP Karimganj sustained minor accidents on his collarbone and clean firing needed to be accomplished to disperse the mob. The first polling officer was discovered lacking within the commotion. The polled EVMs, together with remainder of the polling get together, have been safely escorted from the world and brought into the management of district election officers at 10.20 pm.
“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 EC mentioned.
The first polling officer was lacking till the wee hours of Friday as he was hiding within the undergrowth close by. This delayed the transmission of a report back to the EC by just a few hours.
Priyanka Gandhi later tweeted, “Every time there is an election, videos of private vehicles caught transporting EVMs show up. Unsurprisingly, they have the following things in common: The vehicles usually belong to BJP candidates or their associates, the videos are taken as one-off incidents and dismissed as aberrations, BJP uses its media machinery to accuse those who exposed the videos as sore losers. EC needs to start acting decisively on these complaints and a serious re-evaluation of the use of EVMs needs to be carried out by all national parties.”
BJP chief Jitendra Singh mentioned, “Congress and its mahajot are chasing a non-issue. They are facing imminent defeat in Assam.” A BJP delegation went to the EC within the night complaining of malpractices by rivals in West Bengal and Assam.