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Highlights: Election Commission fights allegations of EVM glitches during bypolls

By-elections to 10 assembly seats and four Lok Sabha seats, including Kairana constituency began Monday morning. Here are the live updates:

india Updated: May 29, 2018 00:07 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Bypolls,Kairana bypoll,live updates
Burqa-clad women, along with other voters, show their voter identity cards as they wait to cast thier votes for Noorpur Assembly bypolls, in Bijnor, on May28, 2018. (PTI)

Bypolls to four Lok Sabha constituencies, including the politically-crucial Kairana, and ten assembly seats in 10 states were held on Monday amid complaints that electronic voting machines were not working at some places.

Besides Kairana in western Uttar Pradesh, where a joint opposition is taking on the BJP, by-elections were held in Bhandara-Gondiya and Palghar parliamentary constituencies in Maharashtra and Nagaland Lok Sabha seat.

Polling was held for assembly seats in RR Nagar in Karnataka; Gomia and Silli constituencies of Jharkhand; Noorpur in Uttar Pradesh; Shahkot in Punjab; Jokihat in Bihar; Chengannur in Kerala; Palus Kadegaon in Maharashtra; Ampati in Meghalaya; Tharali in Uttarakhand and Maheshtala in West Bengal.

The votes will be counted on May 31.

Read more: Kairana bypoll: In battle of ‘honour’, yearning for social peace shapes political realignment

Here are the live updates:

8.50pm: “Some VVPAT machines malfunctioned at the time of voting. It was due to scorching heat. We solved the problem by repairing most of them. The machines which could not repaired, were immediately replaced. News of re-polling is wrong,” Abhimanya Kale, district magistrate of Bhandara, tells ANI.

7.14pm: 75%and 62% voter turnout recorded in Jharkhand’s Silli and Gomia assembly constituencies, says Chief Electoral Officer L Khiyante.

7.10pm: Former Punjab home minister Brij Bhupinder Lalli has been arrested for taking his licensed revolver inside the polling booth in Malsian. Read full story

6.45pm: At least 76% voter turnout recorded in Chenganur assembly constituency of Kerala.

6.05pm: BJP candidate from Kairana, Mriganka Singh tells ANI, “There was massive technical snag in the EVMs and total breakdown of systems. My supporters went back without voting as machines were not working. My party leaders have approached the EC regarding the matter.”

5.53pm: 40.37% voter turnout recorded till 5 pm in Palghar bypoll in Maharashtra, reports ANI.

5.52pm: BJP delegation met EC officials in Delhi over reports of malfunctioning in EVMs during by-polls today. BJP’s Arun Singh says, “We told them that we received information that EVMs worked either late or with some issues or didn’t work at all in 197 booths. We have demanded repolling at a few stations.”

5.45pm: “All the electors who are in the queue in the polling booth, at the time of close of voting, should be facilitated to cast their votes. This is given due publicity by the concerned district election machinery in the polling areas,” says the Election Commission.

5.38pm: Bye-election to the lone Lok Sabha seat in Nagaland on Monday witnessed 70% polling, informed state chief electoral office. Of the 12 districts in the state, Kiphire recorded the highest polling with 83% while Peren and Kohima recorded the lowest figures with 60% turnout.

5.30pm: 69% voter turnout recorded till 5 pm in Shahkot assembly by-election in Punjab, reports ANI.

5.28pm: 70.01% voter turnout recorded till 5 pm in Maheshtala assembly bypoll in West Bengal, reports ANI.

5.26pm: 57% voter turnout recorded till 5 pm in Noorpur assembly by-election in UP, reports ANI.

5.24pm: Voter turnout of 89.91% recorded till 5 pm in Meghalaya’s Ampati assembly seat. The office of the Chief Electoral Officer said there were no reports of any trouble or serious malfunctioning of any EVM in the 39 polling stations except one at the beginning when a VVPAT machine developed at glitch at Rongramgre polling station which was immediately rectified.

5.01pm: Shamli district magistrate Vikram Singh tells ANI, “The issues were being faced in VVPAT machines and not EVMs. The problem has been solved now. Some machines have been replaced at some booths. The voting is now running smoothly.”

4.50pm: After a multi-party delegation met the Election Commission over bypolls in Kairana and Noorpur, SP’s RG Yadav told ANI, “We demanded from EC re-polling in places where more than one-and-a-half hours were wasted and extra time after 6 pm for voters in places where less time was wasted so that they can vote.”

4.42pm: More than 43% polling has been recorded till 4pm in the Kairana Lok Sabha constituency while 47% votes polled in the Noorpur assembly constituency.

4.01pm: BJP candidate for the Palghar Lok Sabha seat bypoll demands that the polling time be extended in view of the EVMs malfunctioning in some booths. The poll representative of BJP’s nominee Rajendra Gavit submits a memorandum to election officials in the district, seeking extension of the polling time.

3.19 pm: 65% polling till 1.30 pm in Meghalaya assembly bypoll.

3.10 pm: Election Commission rejects reports of “large-scale” failure of EVMs and VVPAT machines as “exaggerated projection of reality”.

3.03 pm: Over 30 per cent polling till 1 pm in Kairana.

34% voter turnout recorded till 1 pm in RR Nagar

3.00 pm: 44% voter turnout recorded till 1pm for Shahkot assembly polls.

2.01 pm: 19.25% voter turnout recorded till 1 pm in Palghar bypoll.

2.00 pm: Palghar bypoll Returning Officer Prashant Narnawares says they had encountered problems in the initial hours.

“Nothing has happened after 12 pm. The new machines are working properly. We are in consultation with Central Election Commission about extension of voting time,” says Narnawares.

1.59 pm: 60% polling in by-election to Nagaland Lok Sabha seat till 1 pm.

65.3% polling in by-election to Ampati assembly seat in Meghalaya till 1 pm.

1.50 pm: 52.21% voting registered till 1pm in by-election for Silli assembly seat in Jharkhand’s Ranchi district, Gomia constituency in Bokaro district records 51% polling.

1.45 pm: 34% voter turnout recorded till 1 pm in RRNagar assembly election.

1.40 pm: NCP leader Praful Patel alleges EVMs malfunctioning in Bhandara-Gondiya poll.

“In many big European nations, election commissions have rejected the EVMs and gone back to ballot paper system. SP leader Akhilesh Yadav just called me up. He also said 300 EVMs not working in Kairana bypoll,” says Patel.

1. 25 pm:Polling cancelled in at least 35 polling stations in the Bhandara-Gondiya Lok Sabha bye-elections on Monday, reports IANS.

1.20 pm: 44% voter turnout recorded till 1 pm in Shahkot assembly by-election .

1.12 pm: Technical problems in EVMs and VVPATs clearly indicate failure of EC. If this is the situation in bypolls, think about coming Lok Sabha elections. We’ve said it again and again and other parties have also agreed that elections should be conducted using ballot papers: Anil Desai, Shiv Sena

12.49 pm: Over 21 per cent polling recorded till 11 am in Kairana parliamentary constituency while 22 per cent votes were polled in Noorpur Assembly constituency.

12.45 pm: Bhandara–Gondiya Lok Sabha bypolls: Voting temporarily suspended for now at 35 polling booths due to faulty Electronic Voting Machines (EVM): Abhimanyu Kale, District Magistrate

12.20 pm:

12.14 pm: 41.47% polling recorded in Jharkhand’s Silli assembly constituency till 11am while Gomia constituency recorded 30% polling.

12.03 pm: Till 11 am, 29% voting registered during byelection for Jokihat assembly seat in Araria district of Bihar.

11.38 am: 31% voters turnout for Shahkot bypoll till 11am, polling ongoing peacefully.

11.18 am: RLD candidate Tabassum Hasan writes to the Election Commission over faulty EVMs and VVPAT.

“I’ve been continuously receiving complaints. They didn’t expect so many ppl to come out to vote in Ramzan. Initial strategy was to hold elections in Ramzan so that people won’t vote,” says Hasan after writing to EC.

11.00 am: Polling going on peacefully in 178 booths in Tharali constituency in Uttarakhand. 10 percent polling was reported till 10 am in the constituency that is reserved for the scheduled cast.

10.54 am: Jharkhand’s Silli assembly constituency records 18.22% polling till 9pm while Gomia constituency records 14.4% polling.

10.45 am: Samajwadi Party candidate Rajendra Chaudhary alleges, “There are reports that in Noorpur 140 EVMs are faulty, which is because they’ve been tampered, there are similar reports from Kairana. They (BJP) want to avenge defeat in Phulpur and Gorakhpur, which is why they want to defeat us at any cost.”

10.40 am: Tabassum Hasan, Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) candidate for Kairana Lok Sabha bypoll alleges, “Machines are being tampered everywhere, faulty machines haven’t been replaced in Muslim and Dalit dominated areas.”

10.30 am: In Maharashtra, some electorates are being inked on middle finger instead of index by officials to differentiate between them, as Panchayat elections were held in some parts of Palghar on Sunday.

10.20 am: 6% voting recorded till 9 am in Noorpur assembly by-election.

10.12 am: Shahkot assembly bypoll in Punjab: One Control Unit at 216 booth number and three VVPAT machines at booth numbers 169, 170 and 222 replaced during mock poll due to technical snag. Four VVPATs at booth numbers 27, 28, 132 and 45 replaced during actual polling.

10.10 am: 10.20% voting recorded till 9 am in Kairana Lok Sabha seat.

9.54 am: Nagaland has recorded 24% voting till 9 am for the lone Lok Sabha seat in the state.

9.50 am: 11 faulty EVMs reported across polling booths in Gondiya -Bhandara Lok Sabha constituency, reports ANI.

9.48 am: Voting is underway for Ampati assembly constituency in Meghalaya.

9.30 am: Voting has not started at polling booth number 170 in Arjun-Morgaon area of Gondiya in Maharashtra due to faulty EVM, reports ANI.

9.20 am: Polling agents of all political parties demand a new Electronic Voting Machines (EVM ) after mock poll at a polling booth in Sarpani was stalled due to faulty EVM, according to news agency ANI.

8.55 am: Voting underway for Shahkot assembly by-election where fate of 12 candidates will be decided.

Congress, Akali Dal and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) went all out for the high-stakes bypoll necessitated following the death of Akali MLA Ajit Singh Kohar in February this year. The bypoll is being seen as a popularity test of the 14-month-old Congress government.

8.45 am: Voting underway at a polling booth for Bihar’s Jokihat assembly seat.

8.40 am:

8.15 am: Voting stalled at Public Inter College, Kairana due to faulty VVPAT, reports ANI.

8.14 am: Polling for Palghar and Bhandara-Gondia Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra underway.

In an editorial in the Shiv Sena mouthpiece Saamana says its nominee will win the Palghar seat, despite the BJP roping in UP CM Yogi Adityanath in the poll campaign.

7.50 am: Voting underway at a polling booth in West Bengal’s Maheshtala for assembly bypoll.

7.32 am: Voting for assembly bypoll has begun in Jharkhand’s Silli constituency.

7.31 am: Voting began for the Shahkot assembly seat by-election in Punjab at 7 am. Polling will continue till will continue till 6 pm, reports IANS.

7.25 am:

7.15 am: Voting for Kairana Lok Sabha and Noorpur assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh underway. Voting also begins for Kerala’s Chengannur and Bengaluru’s Rajarajeshwarinagar legislative assembly seats.

Voting in Kairana continue till 5 pm in the evening

7.00 am: People queue outside polling booth in West Bengal.

6.30 am: Voting to begin at 7 am, reports ANI.

(with inputs from agencies)

First Published: May 28, 2018 07:12 IST