Odisha Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Surendra Kumar on Saturday said he has recommended fresh polling in 12 booths spread over eight assembly segments and asked political parties not to be worried about the safety of EVMs.
The fresh polling is recommended after irregularities were noticed in those booths during the third phase polling held on April 23, he said.
“We have recommended the Election Commission of India to hold re-poll in 12 booths in Odisha,” Kumar told reporters.
Asked whether the re-polls will be held during the fourth-phase on April 29, he said it will be done after that to ensure proper management and monitoring.
These 12 booths are located in Brahmagiri, Baramba, Deogarh, Satyabadi, Talcher, Athagarh, Bhubaneswar Central and Ghasipura assembly constituencies.
Earlier, re-polling was held in nine booths on April 25 following reports of irregularities during the second-phase polls in the state on April 18.
Referring to an incident in Keonjhar district where the police detained a youth for his suspicious movements near the EVM strong room, Kumar said, “EVMs are in the safe hands of the Border Security Force. No local police is deployed in the inner circle of the strong room. No one should suspect on the safety of the EVMs.”
Asked if EVMs can be tampered with remotely by using Internet, blue-tooth or infrared, the CEO said EVMs and VVPAT are “stand-alone” machines and they cannot be “communicated with from outside”.
Kumar said he has asked the district collector and SP of Keonjhar to ensure that nobody is seen close to the strong room where the EVMs are stored.
He said all district collectors were also asked to take control of private and government guest houses located close to the strong rooms by invoking provisions of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.