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Congress workers guard Chandigarh’s counting centre; party insecure, allege political rivals

Congress candidate Pawan Kumar Bansal also visited the counting centre Wednesday with his workers.

Written by Hina Rohtaki | Chandigarh | Published: May 22, 2019 7:40:57 am
Congress workers camp in tent to guard the counting centre at CCET in Sector 26, Chandigarh, on Tuesday. Jaipal Singh

Congress party workers have been sitting day and night outside Chandigarh’s counting centre- Chandigarh college of engineering and technology(CCET) in Sector 26 to “keep a close watch” as they fear that EVMs could be tampered with. Other political parties, responding to this, have stated that the Congress is ‘insecure’ and that is why its workers are sitting there.

Congress candidate Pawan Kumar Bansal also visited the counting centre Wednesday with his workers.

According to the police, no one else sought any permission other than the Congress to pitch a tent and sit outside the counting centre. Once a day, the candidate or his authorised person, who has taken permission from the Election Commission, is allowed to see if the strong room is locked and is being well guarded.

Bansal, while talking to Newsline, said, “ I didn’t go beyond the area where counting agents sit.” When told that other parties are calling it a move out of ‘insecurity’, Bansal stated, “ I don’t wish to comment on everything I hear from anyone.”

Read | How EVMs travel from the strong room to the poll booth and back

Congress worker Harmail Kesri said their three to five workers sit outside the premises in shifts. “One lot keeps awake the entire night to check if any person visited and then there are workers for the morning shift,” Kesri said. There is a three-tier security guarding the strong room. CRPF is in the inner cordon, while IRB of Chandigarh Police is in the middle cordon. The local police is in the outer cordon.

Six sections of CRPF and eight inspectors of Chandigarh Police have been deployed for security of the strong room. Deputy Commissioner and the SSP are bound to visit the centre in 24 hours. Meanwhile, Aam Aadmi party (AAP) candidate from Chandigarh seat, Harmohan Dhawan, stated that Congress is being foolish.

“Making its workers sit outside the counting centre is a very foolish decision on Congress’s part. Do you think this can happen in a city like Chandigarh ? Is the Congress showing that they don’t trust the forces that are guarding the strong rooms?” Dhawan stated.

Dhawan further added that Congress can continue to guard but he “knows he is winning”.

BJP Chief Sanjay Tandon stated this move is more of a photo op for the Congress.

They are trying to show non-confidence in government functionaries. Does this mean you don’t have faith in our paramilitary forces and the Election Commission? When we lose, EVMs are good and when we win, EVMs are faulty,” BJP Chief Sanjay Tandon said. There are 170 police officials guarding the centre.

Giving out details on the security deployed, Senior Superintendent of Police(SSP) Nilambari Vijay Jagdale stated that in the perimeter security, there are two PCRs, QRT operations cell, two video/photographers and mounted staff around boundary wall. An inspector is in-charge for one shift and and there are three such shifts. CCTV cameras surveillance is there at the main strong room and reserve strong room. Also, there is one DSP in charge for this entire security. He checks in atleast twice a day.”

The SSP also checks the centre once a day.

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