In yet another glaring example of gross malfunction of the Election Commission in conducting the elections in Andhra Pradesh in a fool-proof manner, more than 200 slips from Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines were found in a corner of a zilla parishad school in Atmakur town of Nellore district on Monday.
Apparently, when the school reopened on Monday after a brief holiday period, some students found bunches of VVPAT slips in a corner of the school promises in open covers.
They immediately brought it to the notice of the teachers, who alerted the local media. They, in turn, informed the Nellore Collector, before flashing the news.
The Collector who made preliminary enquiries told the media that the slips from VVPAT machines could have belonged to mock-polling conducted for the polling staff much before the actual polling on April 11.
A team of officials led by local Revenue Divisional Officer Chinna Ramudu went to the school and hurriedly destroyed all the slips stating that they were used for the polling staff while conducting the test run of the EVMs.
As per the protocol, they should be destroyed immediately but due to negligence of the staff, some slips were left over in the school, he said.
Around the same time, Telugu Desam Party president and Andhra Pradesh chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu was speaking about lack of confidence in EVMs and demanding counting of slips from at least 50 per cent of VVPAT machines.
Chief Electoral Officer G K Dwivedi sought to underplay the whole incident, but the damage to the institution has already been done.