Chennai: A day after 50 electronic voting machines (EVMs) were shifted from Coimbatore to Erode and Theni, leading to speculation of repolling in these areas, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) has sought an explanation.

In a letter addressed to the Chief Election Commission, the DMK demanded action against the officials who functioned without adhering to the guidelines set by the Election Commission of India.

DMK MP and organising secretary RS Bharathi flagged the incident that took place without intimating the candidates.

In the letter, the DMK sought clarification from the authorities regarding the shifting of the VVPATs. They also requested the authorities to furnish the details of where the EVMs and VVPATs were shifted to.

The DMK also urged to keep the EVMs and VVPATs that were shifted to Theni and Erode in a separate ‘Strong Room’ without disturbing the ‘Strong Room’ where polled EVMs and VVPATs are kept with the permission of the agents of candidates.

The party also insisted that no more EVMs and VVPATs from any place can be shifted, without prior intimation to the political parties in advance.

However, Chief Electoral Officer Satyabrata Sahoo claimed that shifting of EVMs is a regular affair and as per the assessment of requirements in case of repoll, EVM machines have been moved.

“So far, 50 EVM ballot units have been shifted from Coimbatore to Theni and 20 unused VVPATs have been moved from Coimbatore to Erode. These ballot units may be put to use if repoll is ordered in any booth,” he said, answering questions on Tuesday evening.

As per the mandatory guidelines issued by the ECI, known as ‘Manual on Electronic Voting Machine and VVPAT’, shifting of unused EVMs and VVPATs was restrained without any intimation to the contesting candidates or to their respective agents.

Referring to the statements made by Sahoo to the media that the shifting was on the orders of Election Commission of India expecting repoll in certain polling stations, Bharathi said, “It is not known on whose request repolling is being processed.” He further said that there was no affirmative order that has been communicated by the ECI on the request made by the DMK for repolling in 10 polling booths in Pappireddipatti in Dharmapuri Parliamentary constituency.

Bharathi stated that moving EVMs and VVPATs to the places, where repoll is not asked for, creates strong doubts on the activities of the Election Commission.

Bharathi questioned, “What is the modus operandi behind these suspicious moves of EVMs and VVPATs shall be clearly and transparently explained by the Election Commission." Otherwise, the trust on the Election Commission would further diminish, he added in the representation.