Andhra CM Naidu slams EC, says 30 per cent EVMs not working
N Chandrababu Naidu, the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and Telugu Desam Party president, is mulling to move the Supreme Court seeking direction to the Election Commission to tally slips from at least 25 per cent Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines with record of the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) in each assembly constituency in the state.
“I have been advocating the usage of ballot papers instead of EVMs, which can be tampered. But the Election Commission was not bothered. At least now, it should have a rethinking on conducting the polls with ballot papers,” the chief minister said.
There have been reports of malfunctioning of EVMs from almost all the districts in Andhra Pradesh due to technical snags. Polling did not commence till 9 am at several places in Anantapur, Guntur, Kadapa and Kurnool due to EVM troubles.
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The Andhra Pradesh chief minister also wrote to the poll body complaining that 30 per cent of the EVMs were not functioning till 10 am.
Naidu said he is planning to file a review petition in the top court, which recently directed the poll body to tally five VVPATs with the votes cast in the EVMs in each constituency. The Election Commission had originally announced to tally one VVPAT record with the EVM in each constituency.
Chief Electoral Officer Gopala Krishna Dwivedi himself could not cast his vote at Christianpeta Municipal High School in Tadepalli town in Guntur district due to malfunctioning of EVM. He pulled up the election officials in the polling station for not taking enough precautions.
According to Dwivedi, reports of only 362 of the 45,000-odd EVMs malfunctioning have come to its noitce.
Dwivedi told media that the faulty EVMs would be replaced immediately and technical teams would attend to any problems. If necessary, time would be extended to enable the voters to cast their vote wherever polling could not commence on time, he said.
Jana Sena Party chief Pawan Kalyan also complained about EVM malfunctioning. He said around 200 EVMs were not functioning during the initial hours of polling.
Expressing serious concern over reports of failure of EVMs at several places across the state, Naidu said he had been saying right from the beginning that EVMs were unreliable as they were prone to technical glitches.
Naidu cast his vote at Vundavalli polling station in the capital region of Amaravati in Guntur district along with his wife Bhuvaneshwari, son Nara Lokesh and daughter-in-law Nara Brahmani. Lokesh is contesting as a candidate in Mangalagiri assembly constituency, of which Vundavalli is a part.
The TDP chief expressed happiness over the way voters were coming in big numbers to exercise their franchise. Naidu asked the voters to cast their vote without fear or favour. Lokesh said the elections in Andhra Pradesh were very crucial and would decide the destiny of the people.
Andhra Pradesh is voting for all 175 assembly and 25 Lok Sabha seats simultaneously on Thursday in the first phase of the parliamentary polls.