Voting machine glitches and voters lining up for getting their daily fill of water from tankers hampered the speed of polling in Solapur Lok Sabha seat this morning. By 1 pm, the Solapur constituency reported 31 per cent voting.
As many as 149 VVPAT (Voter-verified Paper Audit Trail) machines developed glitches as polling began early this morning. The polling was affected in all the 149 polling booths. District Collector Rajendra Bhosale said the malfunctioned VVPAT machines were replaced in 15-20 minutes after which the polling was restarted at the respective polling booths. He said of the 1926 polling booths, 149 were affected.
Deputy Election Officer Snehal Bhosale said some of the VVPAT machines malfunctioned during the mock polling undertaken at 6 in the morning. “While some others failed after the polling started. All the machines were quickly replaced,” she said.
The early morning polling proceeded at a slow pace with only seven per cent polling taking place in the first two hours. The polling picked up by 11 am when 19 per cent voters cast their franchise.
By 1 pm, 31 per cent voters had cast their franchise. Across the constituency and especially in Solapur city area where rotation-wise water is being supplied, people were seen lining up with all kinds of utensils before a water tanker. The residents said they will first fill up their water quota as the water next time is available only after five days. Election officers said in areas where water tanker made round this morning, the voting was extremely slow.
In Solapur seat, Congress candidate Sushil Kumar Shinde is locked in a three-way battle with Vanchit Bahujan Agadhi candidate Prakash Ambedkar and BJP candidate Jai Siddheshwar Shivacharya, who has a large following among the Lingayat community.
Solapur seat is a reserved constituency with around 18 lakh voters. This includes around 4 lakh Dalit voters. Shinde, who is a former chief minister and Union Home Minister, has won thrice from the seat. While Prakash Ambedkar, who is also contesting from Akola is contesting for the first time from Solapur and so is the Lingayat spiritual leader. Shinde was defeated by Sharad Bansode by BJP by a massive margin of over 1.5 lakh in the Modi wave.