A controversy erupted in the midst of the third phase of polls in West Bengal on April 6 (Tuesday), after an election officer was charged with taking away an electronic voting machine (EVM) to the house of his relative, a Trinamool Congress leader.
The Election Commission (EC) took serious cognizance of the lapse and suspended the official, Tapan Sarkar, on Tuesday. Charges will now be framed against Sarkar. Besides, police officials attached to him will face the music. The particular EVM and VVPAT will not be used in the polls, the EC said.
The complaint read that Sarkar, the deputed officer for Howrah’s Sector 17, took a spare EVM to his politician-relative’s home to sleep over. “This is a gross violation of Election Commission of India’s instructions for which the Sector Officer has been suspended and charges will be framed for major punishment,” the Election Commission stated.
A few days back, an EVM was found in a BJP leader’s vehicle in Assam, which also goes to polls today (April 6).
Both the BJP and the Trinamool Congress have constantly accused each other of rigging polls and using the system to their own benefit.
A total of 31 constituencies — eight in Hooghly, seven in Howrah and 16 in South 24 Parganas — are going to polls on Tuesday as part of phase III of West Bengal elections.
BJP’s Swapan Dasgupta, contesting from Tarakeswar in Hooghly, TMC’s Sujata Mondal Khan, fighting from Arambagh constituency, are among the most high profile candidates whose fate will be decided today.