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Lok Sabha elections 2019: High voter numbers in Maharashtra’s sugar belt

On Tuesday, the highest polling percentage was seen in Kolhapur which was more than 65% and Hatkanangale which was above 64%. The lowest was in Pune, estimated at 53-54% by the Pune district collectorate.

india Updated: Apr 24, 2019 03:19 IST
Team HT
Team HT
Hindustan Times, Pune
NCP chief Sharad Pawar said the manipulation of EVMs was the only “worrying factor” at a time when the mood of the nation is favouring change. “EVMs are vulnerable to programming errors,” TDP leader N Chandrababu Naidu said.
NCP chief Sharad Pawar said the manipulation of EVMs was the only “worrying factor” at a time when the mood of the nation is favouring change. “EVMs are vulnerable to programming errors,” TDP leader N Chandrababu Naidu said.(HT Photo)
         

Despite soaring heat, voters turned out in large numbers in Maharashtra’s sugar belt as regional satraps and major political parties battled hard to gain political control over eight constituencies in the western part of the state.

On Tuesday, the highest polling percentage was seen in Kolhapur which was more than 65% and Hatkanangale which was above 64%. The lowest was in Pune, estimated at 53-54% by the Pune district collectorate.

Prestigious battles involving political dynasties and regional satraps such as Sharad Pawar, Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, Udayanraje Bhosale, Vijaysinh Mohite Patil among others are being fought in Madha, Ahmednagar, Kolhapur, Hatkanangale and Sangli seats.

NCP chief Sharad Pawar said the manipulation of EVMs was the only “worrying factor” at a time when the mood of the nation is favouring change. “EVMs are vulnerable to programming errors,” TDP leader N Chandrababu Naidu said. EVMs can be manipulated, hacked and even malfunction because of technical reasons, he said. AAP leader Sanjay Singh said Election Commission was acting like Dhritrashtra, the blind father of the Kauravas in the epic Mahabharata.

“You press any button, the vote goes to the BJP,” he said.

At a news briefing in the evening, deputy election commissioner Sudeep Jain said: “Out of total 2,81,436 ballot units deployed, 1,593 had to be replaced, while out of 2,11,158 control units, only 1,225 had to be replaced.”

Some of India’s tallest leaders — including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, former PM Manmohan Singh, BJP president Amit Shah, Union finance minister Arun Jaitley, and Pawar — voted in the third phase, in which a provisional 65.97% voters turned out, according to data released by the election commission at 10pm.
Opposition parties have complained about malfunctioning EVMs and VVPAT machines in all three rounds of voting so far. On Tuesday, when polling covered 117 seats spread over 13 states and two union territories, involving 188 million voters, glitches led to delays in the start of voting in numerous polling booths across the country.

These parties have insisted on the manual counting of at least 50% of paper trail votes on VVPAT machines to ensure that the elections are fair. The Election Commission has rejected the demand saying it was not possible because of staff constraints and can lead to long delays in declaring election results, which are due out on May 23.

“Counting of 50% of VVPAT votes is a reasonable demand,” Congress leader and former home minister Sushil Kumar Shinde said in Mumbai.

Samajwadi Party (SP) president Akhilesh Yadav alleged that the EVMs were either “malfunctioning or voting for the BJP” across the country, after SP candidates in Rampur, Mainpuri and Badaun in Uttar Pradesh complained of faulty machines.

First Published: Apr 24, 2019 02:37 IST

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