Patidar quota agitation spearhead Hardik Patel on Friday alleged that the BJP would indulge in unfair practices during the upcoming Assembly polls in Gujarat, citing the rejection of 3,550 VVPAT machines by the Election Commission due to various defects. He also said he had “no political plan” for the next two-and-a half years.
“Chunaav Aayog ke pehle level test mein hi 3550 VVPAT machines fail hui, main daave ke saath keh sakta hoon ki Bhajpa golmaal kar ke hi chunaav ladegei (3,550 VVPAT machines failed in the first level test by the Election Commission. I am very much sure that BJP will fight the Assembly polls through unfair means only),” Hardik tweeted.
The Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) for Gujarat, B B Swain, on Wednesday had announced that they rejected 3,550 voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) machines as these were found to be defective in the first level checks (FLCs), a standard procedure followed ahead of polls. A total of 70,182 VVPAT machines, which are attached with EVM machines, will be used in the Assembly polls to be held in two phases on December 9 and 14.
Swain refuted Hardik’s claims, saying the discovery of defective VVPATs should be taken in a positive manner. “For this polls, we require 70,182 VVPATs. The EC has already made them available to us. Additional 4,150 such units were also given to us. Now, as per our standard procedure, we have conducted first level checks on 69,654 machines and found 3,550 units defective,” Swain told PTI.
He added that such defective machines were already sent back to the factories for repair. According to the official, physical damage happens during transit because many of these machines reach them from other states. “We reject even those units which were having a minor crack on their body, as we never allow defective VVPATs. Discovery of defective units is part of our procedure. This rejection should be taken positively,” said Swain.
Meanwhile, speaking after appearing in a court in Surat in connection with a sedition case, Hardik told mediapersons, when asked if the Patidars were opposing Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, he said, “Nobody is opposing as far as I know. This is not BJP’s Gujarat, the opposition should also get its right”. He also said that this time a farmer would be Gujarat’s chief minister.