Phase 1 of Gujarat Assembly Election 2017 UPDATES: EC rejects bluetooth EVM tampering complaints

In the wake of EVM tampering allegation from various political parties, the EC has also put in place administrative safeguards and security protocols to prevent any misuse of EVMs and VVPATs.

Published: 09th December 2017 08:03 AM  |   Last Updated: 14th December 2017 07:49 AM   |  A+A-

Gujarat polling day visual from Bharuch's Ankleshwar. (Twitter Photo | ANI)

By Agencies

The first of Gujarat's two-phase assembly polls began on Saturday across 89 constituencies spread out in the 19 districts of Kutch, Saurashtra and southern regions. A total of 977 candidates are in the fray from Kutch, Morbi, Jamnagar, Dang, Valsad and more districts.

READ | Gujarat Polls: All you need to know about first phase the Assembly elections

Of the 89 seats, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party holds 67 and the Congress 16. One seat each is held by the NCP and JD-U while independents hold the remaining two. There are a total of 24,689 polling booths.

[READ HERE | First phase of polling sees enthusiastic turnout amid EVM, VVPAT glitches]

Polling, which began at 8 a.m., will end at 5 p.m. [WATCH VIDEO HERE]

The second phase polling is on December 14 and counting, along with that of Himachal Pradesh, will be held on December 18.

LIVE UPDATES:

  • Election Commission rejects complaints of Bluetooth being connected to EVM. Says EVMs don't have receptors or wiring to facilitate that. (ANI)

  • 6.30 pm - First phase of Gujarat polling ends. 

  • 5.50 pm - Few voters in polling booth 4 said their votes are going to some other candidate. Polling Officer said it'll be tested and if it's found to be false action will be taken against them. Those voters left without tests. There's no truth behind such reports: Bharuch District Collector (ANI)

  • 5.00 pm - A total of 26865 Ballot Units and 24689 Control Units (CUs) were used, while 24689 VVPATs were used in the first phase of the Gujarat Elections. (ANI)

  • 4.30 pm - No such issues reported till now. Some EVMs replaced due to errors. EVMs were updated with VVPAT, which allows people to verify their vote for 7 seconds: Yogesh Thakkar, Bhavnagar Deputy Electoral Officer on reports of faulty EVMs in 1st phase of polling in. (ANI)

  • 3.45 pm -Senior Congress leader Arjun Modhwadia today complained of possible EVM tampering at three polling booths in a Muslim-dominated area of Porbandar claiming that some machines were found to be connecting to external devices via bluetooth. (Read)

  • 2 pm - Over 30 per cent voter turnout recorded so far amid rising complaints of EVM, VVPAT glitches.

  • 1:30 pm - PM Modi at a rally in Lunavada, Gujarat responds to a Youth Congress leader's remarks: "India is my everything." [READ HERE]

  • 21.09 per cent voting recorded as of 12 pm: ANI

  • 1:00 pm - An EVM was also tampered with in Rajkot East constituency, a complaint to the EC said. It was later restored, according to TV reports. (IANS)

  • 12: 30 pm - Senior Congress leader from the state Ahmed Patel said: "There are reports of EVM malfunctioning in several polling stations. Request the Election Commission to take necessary action immediately." The poll panel received several complaints about Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) malfunctioning in Kosamba region of Valsad district, besides several in Saurashtra and Surat. (IANS)

  • 12:00 pm - PM Modi begins his rally in Lunavada town

  • 11: 30 pm - Despite cold weather, the first two hours of polling saw 11 per cent voter turnout. [READ FULL REPORT HERE]

  • 11 am - The faulty EVM in Sardar Patel Vidyalaya booth in Surat's Varaccha has been replaced, reported ANI.

  • 10:30 am - Amidst reports of an EVM malfunctioning, Vipul Goti, Master Trainer, Election Commission in Surat's Varaccha told ANI: "Have replaced two machines and one VVPAT, you cannot really call it a technical error, these are electronic items there can be some issues. Now everything is okay  and voting has started."

  • READ HERE | Telugus head out to paint Gujarat towns saffron. There are close to 7 lakh Telugu speaking people in Gujarat of which over 3 lakh have voting rights; though most of them appear to be BJP supporters, both national parties are roping in leaders from Andhra Pradesh and Telangana to campaign in Gujarat.

  • Security beefed up: The Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) and State Armed Police (SAP) drawn from other states have also been deployed to supplement the local police force, according to Election Commission statement. (ANI)

  • 8 am: Voting begins for the first phase of the Gujarat assembly election 2017.

Gujarat polling day visual from Bharuch's Ankleshwar. (Twitter Photo | ANI)

BJP releases election manifesto. READ HERE

ALSO READ: PM Modi urges voters to exercise their franchise

Over 1,74,000 police personnel have been deployed with security apparatus on highest alert to ensure smooth conduct of the voting process today. In the wake of EVM tampering allegation from various political parties, the EC has also put in place administrative safeguards and security protocols to prevent any misuse of EVM and Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines.

The cameras have also been installed inside critical polling booths in vulnerable areas to closely monitor the proceedings without violating secrecy of voting process.

In order to provide voter verifiability and auditability of every vote cast through the EVM, the Commission has deployed VVPAT machines in over 24,600 polling booths in this phase.

A mock poll by casting 50 votes will also be conducted at every polling booth by the Presiding Officer, one hour before the commencement of actual polling.

High stakes election

Prominent candidates for today's battle include Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, who is contesting from Rajkot (West), and Congress' Shaktisinh Gohil (Mandvi) and Paresh Dhanani (Amreli).

The election is viewed as a prestige battle for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and a litmus test for the leadership of soon-to-be Congress chief Rahul Gandhi.

The campaign shaped up as a duel between Modi and Gandhi, and often turned personal.

The poll narrative kept changing with issues such as the Ayodhya title suit, Gandhi's imminent elevation as Congress president and his visits to temples being raised by BJP leaders.

Gandhi emerged as the Congress' pivot to take on the might of the prime minister on his home turf.

While Modi addressed about 15 rallies, Gandhi spent more than seven days in Saurashtra and south Gujarat, addressing a number of meetings.

(With agency inputs)

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