The Election Commission on Friday suspended four officials in Assam after an Electronic Voting Machine used for the second phase of polling was found in a car belonging to a BJP leader. It also ordered repolling at the polling station in Ratabari constituency where the EVM had been used.
A video of the EVM being transported in a white jeep was tweeted by journalist Atanu Bhuyan and it went viral on Twitter last night. A man outside the video’s frame is heard saying that the car belongs to BJP legislator from Patharkandi, Krishnendu Paul.
The discovery of the EVM and election officials in Paul’s car sparked violence in the Barak Valley when some people pelted stones on it. A superintendent of police was injured in the clash and the police fired blank rounds to disperse the protesters.
This morning, the news agency ANI, , reported, quoting unnamed “sources”, that the election officials had merely hitched a ride in the BJP leader’s vehicles after theirs had broken down, not knowing it belonged to a politician.
Subsequently, the agency reported, again citing unnamed sources, that a complaint had been lodged against “unknown persons” for attacking the private vehicle carrying the EVM.
This drew accusations from journalists and other Twitter users that ANI was “covering up” for the BJP by reporting the incident akin to a “movie script” supplied by unnamed sources.
ANI later tweeted the Election Commission’s “factual” report of what had transpired on Thursday night. The report claimed the polling officials had found out about the vehicle’s ownership only when the local residents stopped it and informed them about it.
ANI editor Smita Prakash took exception to the criticism received by the news agency over its tweets.