Complaints of EVM malfunctioning were reported from several states during the third phase of the Lok Sabha elections on Tuesday. Even as voters turned up in large numbers to cast their votes in 116 seats, EVM glitches were reported from Kerala, Uttar Pradesh and Goa. BJP president Amit Shah, Congress chief Rahul Gandhi and several Union ministers are in the fray in this phase. Lok Sabha Elections 2019 Phase 3 LIVE UPDATES
1. Uttar Pradesh
Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav Tuesday alleged that EVMs were “malfunctioning or voting for the BJP” across the country and termed it a “criminal negligence”. “EVMs across India malfunctioning or voting for the BJP. DMs say poll officials untrained to operate EVMs. 350+ being replaced. This is criminal negligence for a polling exercise that costs Rs 50,000 crs. “Should we believe DMs @ECISVEEP, or is something far more sinister afoot?” Yadav said in a tweet tagging the Election Commission.
Talking to reporters after casting his vote in Saifai (Etawah), Yadav said the EC should take cognisance of reports of malfunctioning of EVMs in Rampur and Badaun also.
“I have come to know that a state minister is trying to influence polling in Badaun, where his daughter is contesting. Officers are saying that EVMs are not running for lack of proper training of officials. Is this the digital India being promised by the government?” he said.
Glitches in EVMs in some polling booths were reported in the initial hours of voting in Cherthala in Alappuzha district and Kovalam in the state capital, reported PTI. However, state Chief Electoral Officer Teeka Ram Meena dismissed the reports of widespread technical issues in the voting machines and said only isolated cases were reported. “The technical glitches of the sensitive voting machines is nothing new… there were rains in many places last night and the issues could have been due to that,” he said.
In the evening, a 21-year-old man was booked by police after he allegedly made a false complaint about a voting machine in a booth where he cast his vote. After casting his vote at a booth in Thiruvananthapuram Lok Sabha constituency, Babu complained to polling officials that the VVPAT machine showed his vote was not registered in favour of his preferred candidate. However, after a test voting was held in the presence of the presiding officer and polling agents, the complaint was found to be false.
However, Babu was later baild out. He voted from booth no 151 in Vattiyoorkavu, Thiruvananthapuram.
There were complaints of technical glitches in EVMs at some booths in Gujarat, an election official was quoted as saying by PTI. State additional chief electoral officer Ashok Manek said some EVMs were replaced after complaints of technical problems.
“The EVM machines malfunctioned in some parts of the state. We quickly replaced them and the voting process was not affected,” he said. A detailed report on faulty EVMs will be released after the polling ends in the evening, he added.
Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal alleged that there have been several instances of faulty electronic voting machines in Goa during polling for the third phase. In a series of tweets, Kejriwal tagged reports of alleged faulty electronic voting machines. Tagging a news report which claimed that “faulty EVM in a booth at Kizhakke Nalpathu near Cherthala was replaced after it was found that all votes were getting registered to BJP”, Kejriwal said, “Absolutely shocking. All faulty EVMs deliver votes to BJP”.
In another instance, he shared party’s Goa convenor Elvis Gomes’ tweet, “Election of shame? Mock poll with 9 votes for each of 6 candidates in booth no 31 in 34 AC in Goa. Total count BJP gets 17, Cong 9 , Aap 8. Ind 1 . Robbery.” Replying to Gomes’ tweet, he said, “Faulty EVM in Goa also transfers others votes to BJP. Are these really faulty or programmed in this fashion?”
Following the complaints at some polling booths, the faulty machines were replaced, an election official said.
A few technical glitches in EVMs were reported from Odisha as well. VVPAT of polling station No. 196 of 87-Badamba assembly constituency was changed after commencement of actual poll, due to some error, Chief Electoral Officer (Odisha) was quoted as saying by ANI. 134 votes had been polled in the machine by then. Concerned Sector Officer reached booth with replacement VVPAT, the official added.
Further elaborating on the issue, the CEO said that VVPAT meant for parliamentary constituency was mistakenly attached to Control&Ballot Unit meant for assembly constituency during replacement. “Error was detected after 22 votes were polled. Polling adjourned immediately; recommendation to be made to ECI for fresh poll,” he said.
-With PTI inputs