Polling officials collecting the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and other necessary things required for the West Bengal assembly election, at a distribution center, in Uluberia on Monday. Source- ANI.
Phase 3 of West Bengal Elections 2021 has already set its stage. This phase accounts for 31 seats in the Vidhan Sabha Elections. Phase 3 includes the TMC's bastions- South 24 Parganas, Hooghly and Howrah.
Since the beginning of today's voting session, several incidents are coming forward. Parties are blaming the opposition for voter suppression in many areas. Citizens are allegedly receiving threats from either the TMC or the BJP workers. In some areas, the TMC is blaming the BJP workers for voter suppression. In some, there have been incidents of murders of the local leaders.
Amid the ongoing phase 3 voting, news about the discovery of EVM machines in a TMC leader's house came to light. These EVMs (Electronic Voting Machines) and VVPATs were found in the TMC leader's Uluberia house. Tapan Sarkar, a sector officer-in-charge, took the EVMs and VVPATs to the said leader's house. The Election Commission of India has taken action against him. The EC has discarded the EVM machines and has stated they will not use those machines in the polls. The Election Commission has also suspended the sector officer from duty.
Tapan Sarkar is the Sector 17 Officer in Howrah's Uluberia Uttar Assembly constituency. As per ANI, he took the EVM machines to a relative's house and slept at his house only.
This incident is a 'gross violation' of the Election Commission's instructions. Sarkar will also face charges for this serious misconduct.
Sarkar told HT Bangla that he brought the machines to TMC leader Goutam Ghosh's house. He kept the machines at Ghosh's house in Uluberia's Tulsiberia area on Monday night. He claimed he brought the machines to his house because the BDO office was 'occupied' by the Central Security Personnel. So, he kept the machines with him because keeping those in the car would be riskier.
Opposition Leader (BJP), Chiran Bera of Uluberia Uttar, has dismissed Sarkar's claim. He claims that this was a planned attempt of the TMC to 'loot votes'.
The Polling session is still underway in the three districts. As per a senior poll officer, when this EVM incident came to light, the villagers staged a protest. They summoned the Local Police to the area. They dispersed the crowd and brought the situation under control.