Nationalist Congress Party leader and candidate from Parli seat in Maharashtra's Beed district, Dhananjay Munde wrote a letter to the election authorities demanding a mobile network jammer over the strong room and vote counting booths reportedly "to avoid EVM hacking". The letter addressed to the District Magistrate and District Election Officer dated October 18 also asks for jamming mobile tower networks in the area around those two spots between October 21 and 24.
"I am contesting from Parli seat. EVM (Electronic Voting Machines) can be hacked and so for fair elections, I request you to install jammers over the strong room and vote counting booths to avoid EVM hacking," reads the letter. The state will be voting on October 21 to elect a new Legislative Assembly and the counting is scheduled on October 24.
Dhananjay Munde's seemingly unusual demand stems from the fact that he is challenging sitting Bharatiya Janata Party MLA and Cabinet Minister Pankaja Munde. Parli has become a high profile contest in central Maharashtra with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah having campaigned for Dhananjay's cousin Pankaja. Parli, comprising around 135 villages, has around 3.05 lakh voters.
The BJP has been campaigning on the message that under Pankaja, development has reached the region from welfare schemes to infrastructure including fast-tracking work on the Parli-Beed-Nagar railway project. Dhananjay, on the other hand, has shrugged off such claims and has been targeting her and the government for not doing enough for the region.
Pankaja Munde is the State Rural Development, Women and Child Welfare Minister as well as Guardian Minister for Beed district in the Devendra Fadnavis-led Maharashtra government. She had defeated Dhananjay in 2014 Assembly polls by a margin of around 25,000 votes. Dhananjay Munde is currently the Leader of the Opposition in Maharashtra Vidhan Parishad (Legislative Council).