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Why were EVMs for Maharashtra bypolls brought from Surat, asks NCP leader Praful Patel

Almost 25% of Electronic Voting Machines have malfunctioned in Bhandara-Gondia, the politician said.

mumbai Updated: May 28, 2018 16:15 IST
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Press Trust of India
Maharashtra bypolls,Bhandara-Gondia,NCP leader Praful Patel
NCP leader Praful Patel.(HT File Photo)

Former Union minister and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Praful Patel claimed that almost 25% of the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) had malfunctioned during the bypoll in Maharashtra’s Bhandara-Gondia Lok Sabha constituency on Monday.

He also demanded to know why EVMs from Surat, Gujarat, were used in the bypoll when EVMs were available in Maharashtra. “EVMs were available in Maharashtra. What was the reason for bringing EVMs from Surat in Gujarat? We have expressed our doubts to the Election Commission,” Patel told reporters in Gondia.

To say that EVMs malfunctioned because of excessive heat is shocking, the senior NCP leader said, and demanded re-polling in the booths where the machines malfunctioned. “In developed countries like the US, Germany, France and Japan, the use of EVMs was stopped, and they have reverted to ballot papers,” he said.

Patel, who lost from Bhandara-Gondia constituency in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, said his party had raised the issue about faulty EVMs with the Election Commission.

He also pointed out that at many polling centres, the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines, which eject slips to confirm the voter’s choice, were not functioning. “As and when re-polling takes place, will we be able to count every slip,” he added.

In Bhandara-Gondia, where the bypoll is being held following the resignation of BJP MP Nana Patol, the NCP and the BJP have locked horns.

Patole, a leader of the OBC Kunbi community, switched sides from the Congress to the BJP and defeated Patel to be elected as MP from the constituency in 2014. However, last December, he resigned and returned to the Congress.

The NCP, which has allied with the Congress, has fielded former BJP MLA Madhukar Kukde, against the BJP’s Hemant Patle, who belongs to the Powar community and is also a former legislator.

First Published: May 28, 2018 16:15 IST