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Thursday, Nov 21, 2019

Lok Sabha elections 2019: Man vs the electronic voting machine goes on in Mumbai

While the election commission (EC) officials said they will investigate the cases, they maintained that voters were given adequate opportunities to verify their names on the list.

lok-sabha-elections Updated: Apr 30, 2019 10:12 IST

Hindustan Times, MUMBAI
A lot of people had to wait for hours in queues, as some centres faced technical snags in Mumbai North constituency.
A lot of people had to wait for hours in queues, as some centres faced technical snags in Mumbai North constituency.(HT Photo)
         

Glitches in electronic voting machines (EVM) and missing names ensured voters in some constituencies had a harrowing time on Monday.

While the election commission (EC) officials said they will investigate the cases, they maintained that voters were given adequate opportunities to verify their names on the list. They also admitted that 1,165 EVMs and 2,467 VVPATs were replaced after a technical snag. “We will investigate the cases… The names are deleted only after following the due process,” said Ashwani Kumar, chief electoral officer of Maharashtra.

Despite getting herself enrolled in the voting list and receiving a receipt, Rehmat Hussain, an Andheri resident, was told her name was not on the voting list. The polling station at Cama Road in Andheri, which is part of Mumbai North West, saw chaos, as several residents West could not find their names. “After I was told that my name was not on the list, I went home and searched the election commission’s website. My name appeared on the list after three hours. I then decided to go back to the polling station,” said Hussain.

In Mumbai South Central, scores of voters faced similar problems. “My mother’s photo was put in front of mine on the list. When we went to cast vote, my name wasn’t there in our regular booth. Finally, I found it on another list,” said Ramesh Dimala, 71, a resident of collector’s colony.

Tagaram Prajapati, 46, a resident of Siddharth Colony, when went for voting at Vashi Naka, said the EC app showed his name, but it wasn’t there on the list.

Mulund’s Sheetal Shah roamed around for an hour in three polling booths. “I have always voted from Mulund, but this time I had to return home disappointed,” she said. The area is part of the Mumbai North East constituency.

Dharmambal Sundaresan, another voter from Mulund East, said she usually gets a slip before the voting day. On Monday, however, Sundaresan had to go to two booths before casting her vote.

A lot of people had to wait for hours in queues, as some centres faced technical snags in Mumbai North constituency. At Kapol International School in Kandivli West, an EVM in booth number 42 malfunctioned around 11am. It took about 45 minutes until the issue was fixed. “We waited in a queue for hours,” said Madhavi Pandya, a resident of Panchsheel Nagar in Kandivli west.

In Mulund and Kurla, people were annoyed as mobile phones were not allowed inside the booth, with some even fighting with the local police.

In Palghar, the Sena and Bahujan Vikas Aghadi (BVA) alleged the constituency has more than 56,000-60,000 bogus names on the list. The name of a voter, Surekha Suresh Patil, was repeated 68 times. BVA candidate Baliram Jadhav filed a complaint with the district collector and election officer Prashant Narnavare. In Nashik, NCP candidate Sameer Bhujbal’s name was missing from the list. “The machines were replaced quickly to avoid any hindrance in the polling process,” said Dilip Shinde, additional chief electoral officer. ‘MAHUL RESIDENTS’ NAMES REMOVED’ Ghar Bachao Andolan, an NGO, claimed that a total of 1,593 project affected people (PAP), resettled at a Mahul-based Mhada Colony, were deprived of their voting rights on Monday, as their names were deleted from the voting lists in Mumbai North East constituency.

Bilal Khan, an activist from the NGO, blamed the ruling party. “Their names should have been there on the voters’ list,” he said.