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SABOTAGE FROM WITHIN, EVM SECURITY MAJOR CONCERN

MADHYA PRADESH POLITICIANS SPEND SLEEPLESS NIGHTS

By L.S. Herdenia

Even after the hectic electioneering there is no respite for politicians of both BJP and Congress. While the BJP’s worries are being caused by the flood of complaints about sabotage by rival party men, Congress is spending sleepless nights over the possibility of electronic voting machines (EVMs) being tampered with. Besides sabotage, a very serious complaint has been made by sitting BJP legislator Usha Thakur against party president Amit Shah and general secretary Kailash Vijayvargiya.

            The sitting MLA from Indore-3 Assembly constituency, who was fielded by BJP from Mhow, can be seen sharing her pain with party volunteers in a video, which went viral on social media recently. She has been anguished for being fielded from Mhow rather than from Indore-3 constituency. She can be seen saying in the video that national general secretary of BJP (Kailash Vijayvargiya) managed the national president (Amit Shah) to push her away from her seat. She also said that like Congress, dynasty politics has become dominant in BJP too. BJP fielded Kailash Vijayvargiya’s son Akash from Indore-3, while Thakur was pushed to contest from Mhow.

            Speaking to some senior party volunteers in Mhow, she says, “I want to tell you that I am M.Phil and M.Ed and teach children. I have around 450 children in my Ashram, which manages the expenditure on their education on its own. 17 of my students have become doctors and 13 of them have become engineers. My students are those who work on tea stalls and in brick kilns. I also run an orphanage and educating them is my work. I want to emphasise that politics is my mission. I am not here because of my networking. All of you are like my family members and hence I am sharing with you that I am a victim of political injustice. You are finding it difficult to accept me, which is natural as anyone might think that a new face has been planted and may question what will she do or not do and how will she work? But, do understand that I was simply asked to go…The dynasty politics, which had eclipsed Congress, has now plagued BJP. Our general secretary managed our national president and pushed me here”.

            When asked about the video, Thakur clarified that she said what the situation demanded. Party volunteers were unhappy as an outsider was thrust upon them. “I had told them to wait till the polling date after which we can together discuss the matter with the national president,” she added. She emphasised that she simply abided by the orders given to her by the party and thus she contested from Mhow.

            Besides Usha Thakur, the BJP and RSS leaders have received several complaints by party candidates of sabotage by party rivals. Sources claim there are around 50 seats across MP where chances of BJP candidates were sabotaged.

            As a result the role of two main leaders in the state along with 6 MPs has come under scanner. A woman minister in the state government has made a complaint against an MP to RSS leaders. The MP is said to have worked against the woman minister.

            A complaint against an MP of Bundelkhand has been made to CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan and the party organisation at the national level. These MPs worked against the MLAs, who were not in good terms with them. Besides MPs, the ticket aspirants too worked for the defeat of the BJP candidates.

            There are similar complaints against leaders in Gwalior and Chambal. There is not a single place in the state where the leaders did not work against the party candidates. There are allegations against an MP of Vindhya region for openly working against the party candidates.

            Ministers Narottam Mishra, Vijay Shan, Gaurishankar Bisen, Rampal Singh, Antar Singh Arya, Assembly speaker SItasharan Sharma and MLA Shailendra Jain met the CM on Saturday and gave their feedback about the condition of the party in their constituencies and district to Chouhan.

            The main reason behind the sabotage is said to be weak party organisation. State president Rakesh Singh and organisational general secretary Suhas Bhagat failed to check leaders working against the party candidates. Despite the party candidates making complaints, nothing was done by the party organsiation against the saboteurs.

            Sabotage did occur in Congress also, but it was less than in BJP. Former CM Digvijaya Singh across the state ensured that no leader worked against party candidates. His Smaanvaya Yatra proved helpful in checking sabotage against the Congress candidates. Singh also got leaders to resolve their differences through compromises and made sure that they do not work against each other.

            Congress became suspicious about the safety of the EVMs after reports of delayed arrival of EVMs became public. In one case an EVM took 48 hours to cover a distance of 25 Kilometers. In Bhopal reports were received about the failure of CCTV cameras at the old jail premises where EVMs of Bhopal district were kept.

            The issue of EVM safety took such a serious turn that the party decided to bring the issue to the attention of the Election Commission. A delegation of Congress leaders on Saturday met the Election Commission with the party’s concern over security and handling of EVMs in MP and Chhatisgarh. The Congress delegation also suggested measures relating to the process of counting of votes, which will be taken up on December 11. Congress also alleged that postal ballots were lying undelivered in various post offices.

            In a separate letter to the EC Congress leader Ahmed Patel said representatives of all political parties should be allowed on board when EVMs were transported to counting centers from strong rooms.

            Close on the heels of a controversy over reserved EVMs reaching Sagar headquarters 48 hours after the polling, CCTV cameras went off for more than two hours in a strong room of Sagar on Saturday, leading to Congress and other parties manning the strong room to cause an uproar. A naib tehsildar was suspended on recommendation of the district electoral officer (DEC). The action comes for alleged delay of 48 hours in handing over reserved EVMs. Congress workers staged a protest at Khargone district headquarters on Friday night alleging that malfunctioning EVMs were being mixed with normal ones in strong rooms.

            After the EVM row, CEO VL Kantha Rao assured the political parties by tweeting that the EVMs are tamper proof. (IPA Service)

 

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