The Madhya Pradesh government on Tuesday transferred two of its Revenue Department officials from Bhind on the Election Commission’s order following the row over the demonstration of a VVPAT machine on March 31. “Revenue Inspector Vinod Tomar and Patwari Rajendra Singh Bhadoria have been transferred from Bhind to Gwalior,” an Election Commission official said.
The poll panel had asked the state government yesterday to transfer the two officials from Bhind to ensure “free and fair” conduct of a bypoll in Ater scheduled to be held on April 9. With this, the total number of officials transferred so far over the controversy involving the VVPAT machine, has gone up to five.
According to the media reports, a faulty VVPAT (voter-verifiable paper audit trail) machine dispensed slips with the BJP symbol only during its trial run ahead of the April 9 bypoll in Ater in the district, irrespective of the EVM button pressed.
“The EC has been informed today by Revenue Department Principal Secretary Arun Pandey that two officials (Tomar and Bhadoria) have been shunted out,” the EC official said.
Sources said the state government had initially dithered over the transfer of the two officials, but decided to shift them out after the EC acted tough.
On the poll panel’s direction, Bhind Collector Ilayaraja T, Superintendent of Police Anil Singh Kushwaha and the Ater Sub-Divisional Police Officer Indrveer Singh Bhadauria were transferred earlier.
After the trial of the machine, the Congress leaders Digvijay Singh and Jyotiraditya Scindia, besides Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal and other opposition leaders had met Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi in Delhi to lodge their complaint.
Bypolls in Ater Assembly constituency in Bhind district and at Bandhavgarh Assembly segment in Umaria district will take place on April 9, while the counting of votes will be held on April 13.