During the First Level Checks (FLCs) conducted across the state, the Election Commission has rejected 3,550 VVPATs that were found to be defective. The percentage of VVPAT rejection has been the highest in Jamnagar, Devbhoomi Dwarka and Patan districts, official sources said Wednesday.
A total of 70182 VVPATs will be used in the Gujarat polls that will be held in two phases on December 9 and 14. Of these, 46,000 devices are brand new and are coming directly from the Bangalore-based Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) and Hyderabad-based Electronics Corporation of India (ECIL). The rest have been procured from 11 states including Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand, Haryana, Goa and Karnataka.
“The defective pieces will be sent back to the factory. There are some with minor defects and can be repaired,” said BB Swain, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), while addressing mediapersons. Another senior EC official told The Indian Express that the rejected VVPATs were found to have malfunctioning sensors, broken plastic parts and errors in connection with the Ballot Unit, which is a visible part of the EVMs (Electronic Voting Machines).
Jamnagar district topped the VVPAT rejections with 26 percent of the devices found defective. Similarly, the percentage of rejections in Dev Bhoomi Dwarka and Patan stood at 20 and 19 per cent respectively. “Currently the FLCs for the 4,000 VVPATs sent to Banaskantha is underway,” Swain added. The EC has also requested for an additional 4,150 VVPATs to replace the defective ones and to keep some as reserve.
This is the first time, VVPATs are being used in all the 182 assembly seats in Gujarat. Apart from the VVPATs, over 5245 Control Units (from a total of 62666 units) and 2907 Ballot Units (from 75000 units) were also found to defective during FLCs and have been returned. The control units were plagued with “clock-erorrs” and some were found to be broken. “The FLCs is a rigorous process to check if the machines are fit to be used during the polling day,” the CEO remarked. The Indian Express had earlier reported that the EVMs for the Gujarat polls were being procured from Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra.
Complaints of MCC violation
The EC has so far received five complaints of violations of Model Code of Conduct. “These complaints are all under investigation and cannot be discussed right now. No major complaints have been received so far,” Swain said.
Deposit of Licensed arms
Currently there are 56,406 licensed weapon owners in Gujarat. In the first week, 24,268 licensed arms have been deposited and 227 licenses cancelled as a precautionary measure.
Removal of Posters and Banners
After the MCC came into force, the EC has removed 1.79 lakh posters, banners and various slogans written on walls, as on October 31, 2017.