Controversy
Nizamabad MP candidate D Arvind had written to the Election Commission asking for his own locks to be used on the strongrooms, where the EVMs are stored.
File photo

The State Election Commission on Monday denied the request of D Arvind, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate from Nizamabad in Telangana, who had wanted to put his own locks on the door of the strongrooms, where the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) are stored. 

Stating that no political party could be allowed to use their own locks on strongrooms, Telangana Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Rajat Kumar added that candidates could still check the first-level of security outside the room as well as the CCTV footage.

In his letter, Arvind had written, “Allow me to put my lock also to the strongroom in which EVMs and VVPATs used during General Elections to the House of People (Lok Sabha)-2019 are stored.”

Arvind contested against Kalvakuntla Kavitha from the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS), the sitting MP, who is also the daughter of Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao. The Congress had fielded senior leader and former Nizamabad MP, Madhu Yashki Goud.

Arvind, in his letter, said that he had also filed an RTI application seeking information of all voters from polling stations across the constituency.

To this, Rajat said that they would give a detailed reply, adding that the details of the voters as part of Form 17A and 17C were in the strongrooms and could not even be accessed by EC officials, until the counting day.

This is not the first time that Arvind is raising such doubts. Ahead of the polls, he had filed a complaint with the Election Commission alleging that there were at least 1.25 lakh bogus voters in the electoral rolls in the seven Legislative Assembly constituencies that come under the Nizamabad MP seat.

Nizamabad saw an interesting election as 185 candidates were in the fray, forcing the EC to deploy over 20,000 EVMs in the constituency to conduct the elections. Each polling station had 12 EVMs. A total of 174 agitating farmers of the region contested the elections to highlight their plight of not having a national turmeric board, a poll promise made by Kavitha during her 2014 campaign, which remains unfulfilled.