February 7, 2017 2:37:10 am
AFTER COMPLAINING about “faulty” EVMs in Majitha, Sangrur and Muktsar which caused a delay in voting, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has now clarified to the Election Commission (EC) that it does not wish for a re-poll in these constituencies and that it was satisfied with the arrangements. In an email to the EC and the office of the Chief Electoral officer, Punjab, the party has said, “We hereby submit that AAP does not wish any re-poll in the constituencies of Sangrur, Majitha and Muktsar. We are thankful to the EC and CEO Punjab including all the officers in-charge for the elections in ensuring smooth elections”.
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The email, accessed by The Indian Express, was written by Rishikesh Kumar, head of the legal cell of AAP, barely hours after the polling officially concluded on February 4. Th email was received by the office of the CEO and the EC at 8:48 pm just as the last of the voters in the polling booths across the state had cast their votes.
AAP national convener and Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had been miffed with the functioning of the EC and had expressed his annoyance in a tweet saying, “Never has any election seen malfunctioning EVMs on such a large scale. Was it a mischief done deliberately or in collusion with EC?”
The maiden trials of Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail machines linked to the EVMs had been used for the first time in the Punjab Assembly polls in 33 constituencies. Around 725 VVPAT machines had developed snags during the mock poll conducted by the EC as well as when the actual polling was in progress and had to be replaced. This had caused disruption and delay in the polling process. Also, 25 machines in Majithia and ten each in Muktsar and Sangrur had to be replaced with conventional EVMs to enable the voting to continue and get completed.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Deepak Bajpai, media coordinator with AAP said that the party had never sought any re-poll in Sangrur, Majitha and Muktsar. “Some candidates of other parties may have asked for it so we have just given it in writing that we do not require any re-poll. We had only complained about the faulty EVMs,” he said.
EC cracks whip on liquor distribution
CEO V K Singh revealed that EC teams spread across the state had managed to seize large quantities of liquor hidden in innovative manners and the sharp vigil had reduced the role of liquor and drugs in the polls to a very minor percentage. He said that in one instance a person was nabbed wearing six liquor bottles strapped around his torso. “In another instances in Bhoa constituency in Pathankot district, a large consignment of liquor had been hidden behind a wall which had to be broken down by our staff,” said Singh.
Among the major seizures of liquor were more than 1.25 lakh litre in Bathinda, 1,73,700 litre in Fazilka on February 1 and 9,954 litre in Fazilka on February 2.
The CEO said that unlike in previous years, the distribution of liquor was severely checked and instances where liquor was being supplied from vends in lieu of chits was also sharply checked.
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