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TPCC Asks SEC to Declare GHMC Elections Null and Void—Tampering of EVMs

Stating that tampering has happened to such an extent that the entire GHMC election process should be declared null and void, six Telangana Congress leaders said that two videos that went viral on the Social Media (which were already mailed to EC by former MLA Mari Shashidhar Reddy) immediately after the counting of votes on February 5, pin pointed the fact that there has been tampering of the EVMs to the advantage of the candidates of the ruling TRS party.
The Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC) has lodged a complaint with the Telangana State Election Commission here on Wednesday. The Congress leaders Marri Shashidhar Reddy, former Home Minister Sabitha Indra Reddy, Rajya Sabha member Renuka Chowdhary, Lok Sabha member Nandi Yellaiah, former MP Anjan Kumar Yadav and TPCC official spokesperson G Niranjan, in their complaint mentioned that there has been an outpour of distress and disappointment from all quarters and candidates belonging to different political parties and independents and voters alike, crying foul about the fairness of the GHMC elections. They said that apart from those two instances in 142-Addagutta and 130-Subashnagar Wards, there are such instances in almost all the Wards of GHMC.
For instance, Congress party was shown to have secured just nine votes in its own booth in 77-Jambagh Ward, where Vikram Gowd was the Congress Candidate, where his family itself has cast 10 votes and there are more than 200 of his relatives living in that area, who have voted for him, they claimed.
Stating that the EC already received many complaints from individual candidates and also from all the contested candidates of some wards about tampering of EVMs, the Congress leaders said that there has been inordinate delay in shifting of EVMs and related material from the counting area to their storage area after the counting process was completed. For instance, the EVMs were not shifted from Kotla Vijayabhaskara Reddy Stadium to the GHMC Ward office in Chudi till yesterday – four days after the counting was completed. They were being transported in open trucks and locks on many steel trunks were not sealed. Some of the Congress leaders went there personally but satisfactory answers could not be elicited from the officers on duty there. However, it was brought to their notice that there was no power supply at the Stadium on February 6 and no alternative arrangements were made in view of this, which also contributed to the delay in shifting, they said. Whatsapp messages were sent on February 6 at 12.45 pm by the Zonal Commissioner, Central Zone which said “Plan to move EVMs to godowns as per procedure in vogue within 3 days”. All such incidents make the whole process suspicious, they said.
They said that there were several factors, which have reinforced this suspicion. First and foremost, the TRS Minister K. T. Rama Rao has been claiming for more than a month that TRS will win 100 seats and he even went to the extent of saying that he would resign otherwise. The final tally was 99 and no pollster or political pundit has ever been able to make such an accurate forecast. Then this minister happens to hold the IT portfolio and there is a big question mark in everyone’s mind about the link to the tampering of EVMs.
The Congress leaders wondered that then in many Wards, the results were totally different from survey reports and intelligence reports. The claim made by several TRS candidates about the number of votes that would be polled in their favour and the margin with which they would win was astonishingly very accurate and cannot be dismissed as a matter of mere coincidence.
The leaders pointed out that the decision of the State Election Commission to do away with NOTA in the GHMC elections was a gross violation of the Constitutional Provisions and Rules framed. Every citizen has a right not to cast his/her vote by opting for NOTA and hence they have been denied this right.
They mentioned in their complaint that there were a large number of Ministers, MLAs, MLCs and other functionaries camping in different Wards
directing various coercive propaganda to intimidate voters to vote for the ruling TRS, failing which they were warned with dire consequences, as may be applicable to various sections of the voters, like denying then pensions, double bedroom houses, other government benefits, various development activities if they do not cast their vote in favour of the ruling TRS party. This campaign was carried all the way to individual voters, which deprived them of their freedom to vote as per their free will. Even the Settlers were targeted in a manner that instilled fear in their minds. The ruling TRS has thus taken advantage of the fact that counting of votes will done Polling Station wise to instill fear in the minds of the voters of dire consequences if they failed to follow their dictate.
They alleged that the partisan attitude of the officials, particularly the police at the ground level was very evident in many cases. There have been instances of important local police officials not even answering phone calls made by senior party leaders or their inaction when they were informed about certain malpractices being committed. In some cases, policemen distributed money and liquor, they asserted.
They informed SEC that CCTV cameras should be used to monitor all sensitive areas to monitor the movement of people but the SEC has failed to ensure this. The elections have not been free and fair and the Congress party leaders feel that the SEC has failed to ensure this and hence must be declared null and void. Directions may be given to the Election Authority (EA) GHMC and all concerned officers to file police complaints at the concerned police stations to inquire into the various allegations of tampering of EVMs. Saying that all these things may be brought to the notice of the High Court, they urged the Court to give strict instructions to ensure that the EVMs to be kept intact and under constant monitoring by CCTV cameras. (NSS)