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74.61% voter turnout in Madhya Pradesh, Congress complains of faulty EVMs

74.61% turnout recorded, higher than that in 2013; Cong complains of faulty EVMs, demands re-polling.

madhya pradesh elections Updated: Nov 28, 2018 23:57 IST
Punya Priya Mitra and Shruti Tomar
Punya Priya Mitra and Shruti Tomar
Hindustan Times, Bhopal
EVMs,Madhya Pradesh,Congress
Voters stand in queues to cast their ballots for the Madhya Pradesh state assembly elections in Jabalpur on November 28.(AP Photo)

Complaints of malfunctioning Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) and sporadic incidents of violence marred polling day in Madhya Pradesh, which recorded a voter turnout of 74.61%, as of 10pm Wednesday.

The figure may be higher, as the voting time was extended in 250 polling booths. In 2013, the voter turnout was 72.13%.

The Congress complained of malfunctioning EVMs and delayed polling with state Congress chief Kamal Nath demanding a re-poll in booths where EVMs had malfunctioned. Campaign committee chief Jyotiraditya Scindia wrote to chief election commissioner O P Rawat complaining about delayed voting and faulty EVMs.

“The rate at which EVM machines are malfunctioning is alarming…several voters are de-motivated when they experience incomplete arrangements and may lose faith in this exercise if they come across allegations of tampering with EVM machines,” the letter stated.

The Congress did not specify in how many constituencies it demanded a re-poll. BJP spokesperson Rajneesh Agrawal said the Congress was preparing the grounds to explain its loss.

Read: 10 factors that may influence MP polls outcome

According to chief election officer V Kantha Rao, 2,126 Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail machines (VVPAT) or 3.25% of the total number, 881 control units and 883 ballot units were replaced. The number of malfunctioning units is not abnormal—2% VVPAT machines in the recently held Chhattisgarh election malfunctioned—Rao said. He said they were likely to take a decision about re-polling late on Wednesday.

“Shivraj Singh Chouhan has made Madhya Pradesh the rape capital of the country. There are one crore unemployed youth in the state. It is not a wave, but a storm against the BJP and its fate has been sealed. You will find out on December 11,” Scindia told reporters. Three poll officials died during polling duty, reportedly due to cardiac arrest. Incidents of firing were reported in Morena and Bhind. Rao said seven people have been arrested, while 386 complaints have registered.

The highest turnout was recorded in Shajapur, 82%, and the lowest was in the tribal-dominated district of Alirajpur, 63%.

In the epicentre of farm distress, Mandsaur, 81.27% polling was reported. In Chhindwara, a small controversy broke out after Nath showed his palm after voting, prompting the BJP to complain that the leader was trying to influence voters.

Read| How Madhya Pradesh voted in the 2013 assembly elections

First Published: Nov 28, 2018 23:57 IST