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State News

May 08, 2019

Shifting of EVMs or VVPATs during election period is normal activity: Tamil Nadu Chief Electoral Officer

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Tamil Nadu Chief Electoral Officer Satyabrata Sahoo has clarified that shifting of EVMs or VVPATs during election period is a normal activity.

Shifting of over 54 ballot units and 109 control units of the EVMs and 50 VVPATs from Coimbatore to Theni and Erode yesterday led to demonstration by opposition DMK and Congress.
When asked about this by reporters in Chennai this afternoon, Mr Sahoo said there is no breach in the strong rooms where EVMs with votes polled in the April 18 elections are being preserved.

He added, presiding officers in 46 polling booths in 13 districts in Tamil Nadu forgot to either clear the votes polled in the EVMs during the mock poll immediately preceding the actual polling or the entry in the VVPAT or both.
As this may lead to confusion during counting of votes, the situation has been brought to the notice of the Election Commission of India, ECI. He added, only the ECI has to take a call if a repoll is to be held in the 46 booths or not. He said only under direction from the ECI the unused EVMs and VVPATs were shifted from Coimbatore to Theni and Erode.

It may be noted that ten other booths falling within Dharmapuri, Cuddalore and Tiruvallur Lok Sabha seats also have been recommended for a repoll for reasons ranging from violence to electoral malpractices. Mr Sahoo said there is no word yet from ECI on the date of repoll.
Meanwhile, AIADMK Joint Coordinator and state Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswamy has said, the shifting of EVMs and VVPATs have been made into an issue by the Opposition due to fear of failure.

Talking to reporters in Tuticorin today, he said, the ECI is an independent body and there is no scope for any tampering with the election process.
DMK President MK Stalin has said a Special Chief Electoral Officer for Tamil Nadu should be appointed by the ECI to ensure the safety of EVMs and VVPATs.

In a statement today, he has asked why the mistake in polling in 46 booths as reported by the CEO today before the media has not been disclosed earlier. He has also demanded the returning of the EVMs back to their original places of storage. 

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