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Hours after the second phase of polling concluded in Assam, a video has been circulating on social media allegedly showing electronic voting machines (EVMs) in the car of Patharkandi BJP candidate Krishnendu Paul. Assam-based journalist Atanu Bhuyan tweeted the video and mentioned that the “situation is tense in Patharkandi” following the incident.

Targeting the BJP over the incident, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi said the Election Commission needs to start acting decisively on reports of private vehicles transporting electronic voting machines, and a serious re-evaluation of the use of EVMs needs to be carried out by all national parties.

Tagging the tweet which carried the video, Priyanka Gandhi said every time there is an election, videos of private vehicles caught transporting EVMs show up. 

"Unsurprisingly they have the following things in common: 1. The vehicles usually belong to BJP candidates or their associates. 2. The videos are taken as one-off incidents and dismissed as aberrations 3. The BJP uses its media machinery to accuse those who exposed the videos as sore losers," the Congress general secretary said.

The fact is that too many such incidents are being reported and nothing is being done about them, she said. 

"The EC needs to start acting decisively on these complaints and a serious re-evaluation of the use of EVMs needs to be carried out by all national parties," she said in a series of tweets.

Violence in Assam

Violence broke out in Karimganj district of Assam on Thursday night after a mob spotted a BJP candidate's vehicle being used to take a polled EVM to the strong room, forcing the police to fire in the air to bring the situation under control.

The vehicle of the polling party of Indira MV School in the Ratabari constituency broke down on their way to the strong room in Karimganj town, officials said on Friday morning.

"They took a lift in a private vehicle. Incidentally, the vehicle was registered under the name of sitting BJP MLA from Patharkandi Krishnendu Paul. When it reached Nimal Bazar area, some public spotted it," an official of the district administration said.

Paul is also the BJP candidate from the seat this time. The mob, mostly consisting of AIUDF and Congress supporters, vandalised the vehicle, upon which the polling party ran away, leaving behind the EVMs, eyewitnesses said. 

"The Deputy Commissioner and Superintendent of Police reached the spot immediately and they tried to pacify the mob. But the crowd did not listen, forcing the police to fire in the air to disperse them," police sources said. 

The DC and the SP then brought the EVMs to Patharkandi police station at night, from where it was taken and deposited at the strong room in Karimganj town, they added.

Ratabari and Patharkandi constituencies went for polls in the second phase on Thursday.
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