Dholpur bypoll: Voting peaceful amid reports of EVM, VVPAT malfunction

Proposal for repoll at one booth sent to Election Commission of India.
People queue up before polling booths in Dholpur on Sunday.(HT Photo)
People queue up before polling booths in Dholpur on Sunday.(HT Photo)
Updated on Apr 30, 2017 09:01 AM IST
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Hindustan Times | By, Jaipur/bharatpur

Polling for the Dholpur Assembly bypoll was peaceful amid reports of electronic voting machine (EVM) and Voter Verified Paper Audit Trial (VVPAT) malfunctions at some booths, said Rajasthan’s chief electoral officer Ashwini Bhagat.

“The malfunctioning machines were promptly replaced,” he added. Bhagat said that his office has sent a proposal for a re-poll at booth No. 163 in Dholpur city to the Election Commission of India as the polling party had not cleared the mock drill data.

Voting at 25 polling booths was webcast to the control room at district collector’s office for a fair election, he added.

The by-poll for Dholpur Assembly seat was necessitated after Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) legislator Banwari Lal Kushavah was disqualified after he was convicted in a murder case last year.

Polling across 231 booths began at 7am with a lukewarm response from voters. In first two hours, only 15% votes were polled, but polling picked up later in the day. “Till 6 p.m. tentatively around 77.26 percent of the 1.91 lakh voters had cast their votes,” a state election department official said

Polling was interrupted at booth No. 158, 159 and 163 for more than two hours due to an EVM malfunction. Malfunction of VVPAT machines was reported from some booths in the Saipau sub-division.

BJP candidate Sobha Rani Kushwaha flashes the victory sign in Dholpur on Sunday. (HT Photo)
BJP candidate Sobha Rani Kushwaha flashes the victory sign in Dholpur on Sunday. (HT Photo)

Congress candidate Banwari Lal Sharma and his family cast their vote in Pachgaon village. BJP candidate Sobha Rani Kushwaha cast her vote in Jamalpur village.

Chief Minister’s son and BJP MP from Jhalawar-Baran Dushyant Singh cast his vote at the PWD Office polling booth. His wife, Niharika Singh, was also with him. The BJP MP said that the people will vote for development and will elect their party’s candidate from Dholpur.

Police arrested a Congress agent, Rajkumar, for alleged irregularities at booth No. 134 in Kasimpur village. “He was arrested under section 151 of the CrPC and is in our custody,” said Dholpur superintendent of police Rajesh Singh.

Bhagat said more than 1,500 people were part of the polling process apart from 2,300 police personnel, including paramilitary forces, state police and home guards. Seventy micro-observers were also deployed.

All measures helped in achieving free and fair polls, Bhagat said.

The officer said there was unprecedented participation by the youth in the election. “We added more than 10,000 new voters, most of them young,” he said.

Chief minister Vasundhara Raje appealed to the people of the constituency, through a tweet, to exercise their franchise.

Voting percentage in Dholpur in 2013 Assembly election was 80%.

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