Assam Congress demands access to strong room CCTV vigil

GUWAHATI: The Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) has moved the Assam chief electoral officer, Nitin Khare, urging the poll panel to provide access or link to CCTV surveillance of strong rooms to contesting candidates.
In view of reports of EVMs lying unguarded in several public places during the election process, it has become imperative to ensure the voting machines are protected from rigging, said APCC president Ripun Bora on Wednesday.
After the final phase of polls on Tuesday, Bora was even more confident of the Congress-led grand alliance reaching the majority mark of 64 in the 126-member Assam assembly.
EVMs have been found in various places and this has raised concern about their security. Strong room agents should have 24×7 access to surveillance facilities. This will definitely ensure a free and fair election, said Bora at a news conference at Rajiv Bhavan here.
He thanked the electorate for voting, but raised several pertinent issues, including those related to EVMs, security and surveillance at strong rooms across the state. For many political analysts, the third and final phase, held in a significant number of Muslim-majority seats in lower Assam, was expected to be the biggest gain for the Congress-AIUDF candidates.
Bora alleged that the Patharkandi BJP MLAs car had been used to carry EVM machines and questioned why he had not been arrested. The Election Commission must provide clarification on incidents related to EVM malfunction and recovery in unexpected places, he said.
Referring to several untoward incidents on the day of voting in Barkhetri, Jalukbari, Gauhati East and Gauhati West on Tuesday, the Congress has asked for proper action against the guilty.
The 53 Gauhati East LAC BJP candidate Siddhartha Bhattacharya was found to have misbehaved with a police officer. We urge that legal action be taken against him, Bora said.
The third phase of the election signals an atmosphere of change, he added, observing that over 85% turned up to vote in the third phase. Bora also thanked senior Congress leaders Rahul Gandhi, Priyanka Gandhi, AICC general secretary and Assam in-charge Jitendra Singh, Chhattisgarh chief minister Bhupesh Baghel and his team alongwith the AICC and APCC leaders for their role in the marathon campaign.
On the issue of the arrest of social activist and writer Sikha Sarma, who was held on sedition charges, Bora said the arrest is a legal matter and the law will take its own course. She was arrested for an alleged Facebook post on security forces after 23 security personnel were killed in a Maoist attack in Sukma.
Bora, however, strongly condemned the hate speech and rape threats against Sarma on social media and demanded that the government take stringent action against those who have posted such messages. The APCC condoled the death of the two CRPF personnel, late Dilip Kumar Das and Bablu Rabha from Assam, who were killed in the Maoist ambush.
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