Lok Sabha Elections 2019: Staff failed to erase mock poll data in 24 EVMs across Punjab
Mock polls are votes cast by the staff to check the working of the EVMs prior to the actual polling. The staff was clearly instructed to erase the data after casting these votes, but some of the officials failed to do so.Updated: May 22, 2019 10:49 IST
Despite extensive training of poll staff in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections in Punjab on May 19, the staff at 11 of the 13 constituencies in the state failed to erase mock poll data in 24 electronic voting machines (EVMs).
Mock polls are votes cast by the staff to check the working of the EVMs prior to the actual polling. The staff was clearly instructed to erase the data after casting these votes, but some of the officials failed to do so. As a result, these EVMs showed excess of 50 votes cast than their actual number.
After the matter was taken up with the Election Commission (EC), directions were issued to the respective district election officers to count only the VVPAT data in these 24 booths, falling under various segments of 11 constituencies.
Officials said the mock poll data was not erased in four EVMs each in Jalandhar and Patiala, three in Gurdaspur, two each in Ludhiana, Khadoor Sahib, Hoshiarpur, Faridkot and Bhathinda and one each in Amritsar, Aanandpur Sahib and Sangrur. At the time of filing the report, officials said the figure was increasing as a revision was being done. In Ludhiana, the staff failed to erase mock poll data in booth number 53 of the Central assembly constituency and booth number 59 of the North segment.
Deputy commissioner-cumdistrict election officer Pradeep Kumar Agrawal said the anomaly came to light during randomisation of EVMs when they noticed a difference of 50 votes each in two machines. “We referred the case to the EC which directed us to count only VVPAT data . There will be no repolling at these segments as the actual data is safe,” said Agrawal.
Akali Dal’s Ludhiana candidate Maheshinder Grewal also raised the issue with EC. “Fifty votes were found in excess at two booths in Ludhiana. We have urged the EC to intervene.”
First Published: May 22, 2019 10:47 IST