After a 40-year-old Delhi voter alleged that his “VVPAT machine printed the wrong symbol although the EVM machine’s red bulb glowed correctly”, the Election Commission (EC) has directed the Delhi Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) to submit a report in the matter.
Milan Gupta, a managing consultant, alleged that the incident took place around 4 pm at Matiala, booth numer 96, in West Delhi. He said he complained to the presiding officer of the booth and insisted on filing a written complaint. “The officer kept saying that this is not possible… I filed the complaint in the format of ‘form of declaration by the elector under rule 49MA of conduct of elections rules, 1961’, and agreed to do a test vote,” claimed Gupta.
If a person’s allegation is found false, the form of declaration states that section 177 of the IPC shall be liable with imprisonment up to six months or a fine up to Rs 1,000, or both.
If the allegation is found true, “the presiding officer shall report the facts immediately to the returning officer, stop further recording of votes in that voting machine and act as per the direction that may be given by the Returning Officer”.
When contacted, Gupta claimed: “When I asked the officers how to do the test vote, they asked me to press the button of the party I had voted for… basically reveal my secret vote to them.”
Gupta said he didn’t want to reveal his vote so he pressed a random symbol in front of officers and the VVPAT slip printed the one he clicked in the test vote — rendering his allegation false.
Gupta claimed that afterwards, he was handed over to police officers who took him to Dwarka Sector 9 police station. He was allowed to leave later in the day. “So far, we have not received a directive from the RO or a written complaint. If and when we do, action will be taken,” said DCP (Dwarka) Anto Alphonse.
Azimul Haque, Returning Officer of the West Delhi constituency, told The Indian Express, “I am preparing a report for the Delhi CEO about what happened at the booth, where a voter did a test vote. His claims were proven wrong. As per the rule book, the presiding officer first tried to tell him that what he said was not possible. After that, he was made aware of the form of declaration.”