An Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) used during the Zilla Parishad elections in the month of February in Maharashtra reportedly recorded votes in favour of a BJP candidate when they were cast for an independent candidate.
According to a report in DNA, independent candidate Ashatai Arun Zore filed a complaint after an EVM in Buldhana district of Vidarbha votes polled in her favour “occasionally” went to the rival candidate from BJP. The complaint was forwarded to Buldhana district collectorate by RTI activist Anil Galgali who sought information regarding the complaint.
The report says that on February 16th, the day of polling, Zore and her representatives filed a complaint at around 10 am after they objected to the LED light flashing for BJP candidate when votes were cast in her favour at a polling booth in Sultanpur. The inquiry report was earlier found to be “without substance” by centre in-charge Ramnarayan Sawant and election officer Manikrao Bazad. Similar complaints were made again at 1:30 PM, which were then found to be true, the report added.
The complaint was brought to the notice of the Assistant Returning Officer prompting officials to seal the machine and restart the polling. Re-polling took place a few days after the incident at booth 57/6, the report stated. The Buldhana district collector, in his letter to the State Election Commission, admitted that Zore’s complaint turned out to be true.
The reason for the malfunction remains unclear but the officials denied that it was a case of EVM tampering. “This could be a technical fault. On an average, there are 60 seats in a Zilla Parishad. The problem occurred on one machine in one centre in a particular constituency. If there was deliberate tampering, similar complaints could have been reported from more machines in other centres,” a Buldhana district official told DNA.