If EVMs are fine, why transfer the officials in Bhind?

If EVMs are fine, why transfer the officials? And if the EVMS are not fine, why not wait for the inquiry to be over? The hurried transfers by the Election Commission makes the exercise look suspicious

PTI Photos
PTI Photos

NH Political Bureau

The alacrity with which the Election Commission transferred Ilayaraja T, the District Magistrate and Anil Singh Kushwaha, the Superintendent of Police of Bhind in Madhya Pradesh has raised more questions than answers.


The transfers were ordered the day after a demonstration of Electronic Voting Machine at the Bhind Collectorate turned into an embarrassment when all buttons pressed indicated votes were being cast for a single party, namely the BJP. A report in The Times of India on Sunday reported that the DM and the SP had been transferred on Saturday by the Madhya Pradesh Government.


The Indian Express however reported on Monday that it was the Election Commission which had ordered the transfer of the officials on Sunday.


The hurried transfers came as a surprise because it was only late on Saturday afternoon that a formal complaint was lodged with the Election Commission by the Congress. The EC had then called for a report and announced that a team of officials would conduct an inquiry into the allegation backed by a video that had gone viral.

While the DM and the SP were present at the demonstration, their culpability is still not clear. Were they transferred because the Election Commission believes the officials were responsible for the malfunction of the EVM? Or were they transferred because they could not prevent the assembled local journalists from taking the video or reporting on the event?

The video showed the Chief Electoral Officer of Madhya Pradesh, Saleena Singh, an IAS officer of the 1986 batch, pressing the buttons, which was followed by gasps and titters by the people present at which she is heard warning that what happened should not get into the media or else “Thana me baitha doongi” (I would get you detained at the police station).


While the DM and the SP were present at the demonstration, their culpability is still not clear. Were they transferred because the Election Commission believes the officials were responsible for the malfunction of the EVM? Or were they transferred because they could not prevent the assembled local journalists from taking the video or reporting on the event?


There has been a fresh twist to the controversy following the allegation by Congress spokesman KK Mishra in Madhya Pradesh that Kiran Gopal, who has replaced the DM in Bhind, was facing corruption charges following which the state government had been forced to remove him from Balaghat.


If the EC believes there is nothing wrong with the EVMs, the transfers were unwarranted, say observers, especially a week before the byelection to the Ater assembly seat is to take place.


At the very least, the transfers could have been deferred till the arrival of the EC team and an inquiry. The hurried transfer of the two officials even before the probe is over makes the exercise look suspicious.

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Published: 3 Apr 2017, 5:36 PM