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Fears of EVM hack loom large as polls begin in state

Midnapore: On the eve of the first phase of elections in the state, electorates are apprehensive that the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) may be tampered with, which appears to

be a strong rumour spread allegedly by the BJP to deter voters from turning up in large numbers at polling booths to exercise their franchise.

Trinamool Congress chairperson Mamata Banerjee has already raised allegations of the Election Commission and BJP working hand-in-glove to ensure the latter's win. She had also urged people not to return home without casting their votes "as purposefully the process would be delayed by putting forward different excuses".

Abdul Sheikh, a shopkeeper at Dashpur, said: "We have already made up our mind whom to cast our vote as we want development to continue in the state." After giving a brief pause he smiled and said "but we do not know what will be its result as we are hearing that there can be some manipulation with voting machines."

Trinamool Congress leader and party's candidate from Dakshin Kanthi in East Midnapore Jyotirmoy Kar said: "We have also heard the same. None other than BJP is behind all this. They are spreading rumours to loot the votes of the electorates who will not turn up. We are also making people aware about the facts so that everybody votes. We have taken up the matter with our state level leaders and they would take it up with the EC."

BJP, however, refuted all allegations. Samiran Hansda, a daily wage worker at Datan in West Midnapore, also expressed his reluctance to go to exercise his right, though the election in the Assembly constituency is in the second phase, as he heard that "his vote will not go to the party or candidate in whose favour he will press the button as there are some manipulations in the EVMs". He, however, failed to specify that from whom he had heard all this.

Banerjee is also directing her party workers in almost every public meeting to follow three-point checklist to prevent rigging of EVMs. She urged her party workers to ensure that electorates should not go back even if they are told that the EVM has malfunctioned. The party workers have also been directed to switch off and on the EVMs twice after 30 mock polls before the actual election begins. Most importantly, she urged them to guard the strongrooms till the day of counting.

She urged them to carry homemade food instead of accepting 'biryani' from an known person as it could be spiked.

It also needs a mention that a parliamentary delegation of the TMC had submitted a memorandum to the Election Commission of India with a demand

to tally VVPAT machines with EVMs.

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