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Lok Sabha elections 2019: Opposition moves EC over voting machine snags, PM Modi attacks those casting doubts

EVM snags were reported from UP, Odisha, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. In some constituencies, while the machines were immediately replaced, in others, the replacement took some time causing delay in voting, said Election Commission officials.

lok sabha elections Updated: Apr 30, 2019 00:53 IST
HT Correspondents
HT Correspondents
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
EVMs,EVM glitches,Election Commission
Glitches in electronic voting machines (EVMs) and voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) machines caused a delay in the voting process in many polling booths across the country on Monday(Sakib Ali /HT File Photo)

Glitches in electronic voting machines (EVMs) and voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) machines caused a delay in the voting process in many polling booths across the country on Monday, even as Prime Minister Narendra Modi slammed the Opposition for casting aspersions on their efficacy. There were also complaints of missing names of voters in Mumbai and Uttar Pradesh.

EVM snags were reported from UP, Odisha, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. In some constituencies, while the machines were immediately replaced, in others, the replacement took some time causing delay in voting, said Election Commission officials. In UP, the Samajwadi Party claimed that votes being polled were going in favour of the BJP in two booths.

Modi said that repeated complaints against the EVMs clearly showed that the Opposition has accepted defeat in 2019 elections. “Earlier only Modi was abused, now even EVMs are being abused. The opposition is doing so as it faces imminent defeat,” he said at an election rally in West Bengal last week.

In Uttar Pradesh, EVM faults were reported from most of the 13 constituencies going to poll on Monday with maximum complaints being reported from Kannauj, from where Dimple Yadav, wife of SP chief Akhilesh Yadav is contesting. Voting was delayed for over two hours at two polling booths of Kannauj because of alleged snags in machines. In the first hour of polling, as many as 74 booths reported EVM malfunctioning and the number shot up to 100 within the first two hours. By 2 pm, about 274 EVMs snags were reported.

SP MLA Arvind Kumar Singh also wrote a letter to Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) claiming that EVMs malfunctioned in several booths. SP leader Dharmendra Yadav alleged that in at least two polling booths in Kannauj, the VVPAT machines showed the voting for the BJP when the ballot was cast for the SP.

UP chief electoral officer L Venkateshwarlu said the problems were set right at the earliest to resume voting in a free and fair manner. He said on average, 12 EVMs were changed in Hamirpur, Etawah, Farrukhabad, Hardoi, Unnao, Jhansi, Akbarpur and Misrikh constituencies. The total number of Ballot units and Control units used were 32,766 and 32,449 respectively, while the total VVPAT machines used were 34,496, in the fourth phase in UP.

In Maharashtra, faults in EVMs and paper trail machines were reported from at least 10 of the 17 constituencies . There was about a two-hour voting delay in a polling booth in Mumbai because of this. In some other booths, there were complaints of missing names, locals said.

An election officer in Rajasthan said voting was affected for 15 to 20 minutes at different locations across the state where EVM and VVPAT machines developed glitches and machines were replaced even as the Congress and BJP complained of several EVM glitches across 13 LS seats.

Congress spokesperson Archana Sharma said the party control room received 526 complaints of EVM and VVPAT malfunction. BJP’s control room coordinator Nahar Singh said about 300 complaints of glitches in two machines was received.

In Bihar’s Darbhanga, there were reports of EVM and VVPAT malfunction in at least nine booths, halting the polling process for a couple of hours. “As compared to the total 1,664 polling booths in the district, EVM malfunctioning in 8-9 booths is a very insignificant percentage,” said district magistrate Thiyagrajan.

In Odisha, technical glitches in EVMs were reported from about 100 booths. In West Bengal, EVM malfunctioning was reported from Birbhum and Bolpur districts causing up to a two-hour delay. Both the Congress and the BJP complained to election office about widespread faults.

According to VL Kantha Rao, chief electoral officer, MP, a total of 103 ballot units (BU), 85 control units (CU) and 253 VVPAT machines were replaced in over 100 polling booths of the state.

First Published: Apr 30, 2019 00:53 IST