LUCKNOW: With all eyes set on UP’s Kairana parliamentary and Noorpur assembly bypoll, there have been complaints of EVM malfunctioning on a large scale in both the constituencies. EVMS allegedly developed glitches in over 175 booths in Kairana and over 80 booths in Noorpur during voting on Monday. Both the opposition and the ruling party have approached Election Commission to report EVM anomalies and the poll panel has extended the polling time till 6 pm in booths reporting faulty EVMs.
However, braving a severely hostile weather, 35 per cent voters turned up in Kairana and 33 per in Noorpur till 1 pm on Monday.
As per the sources, while RLD candidate Tabassum Hassan has written a letter to the ECI reporting EVM malfunctioning at various booths in Kairana, SP-RLD delegation led by SP’s state chief Naresh Uttam and RDL leader Anil Dubey met the Chief Election Officer (CEO). They alleged that the government machinery was creating deliberate snags in the voting machines at the behest of the ruling BJP.
On the other, BJP delegation, led by JPS Rathore, also approached the UP CEO chief election officer separately to raise the issue of faulty EVMs. As the reports, RLD chief and SP general secretary Ram Gopal Yadav were contemplating to approach ECI in this regard.
However, reacting to the EVM malfunctioning, UP CEO G Venkatesh trashed the oppositions’ allegation of unfair polls and claimed that the issues were being resolved as soon as possible. The machines were being mended technically. “It could be due to high temperature. Mostly VVPATs are developing snags. We are rectifying the problem. We also have 25 per cent machines in reserve. Where the EVMS are beyond repair, we are replacing them,” said the CEO.
On the possibility of repoll, the Chief Election Officer said that it would happen only if 25 per machines in reserve would be exhausted. The CEO said that the voting time at the affected booths was already extended to 6 pm. Meanwhile, Shamli District Magistrate Indra Vikram Singh also attributed the glitches in voting machines to high temperature.
“VVPAT machines' sensor is developing a glitch due to heat. We are getting real time complaints and we are resolving the issue within 15 minutes. Each issue is being resolved within 15 minutes as officers are there at every centre."
Taking a jibe at the authorities, RLD vice president Jayant Chaudhary called it a ‘systemic anarchy’ where the voters could not vote in a free and fair manner. On the other, Samajwadi party chief Akhilesh Yadav saw danger to the foundation of democracy if the EVMs were developing technical snag.
"Whether it is a technical snag or a deliberate move to mar elections, the foundation of democracy is certainly in danger,” he tweeted. As per the EC sources, all the electronic voting machines (EVM's) are being used in the two bypolls have VVPAT machines to enable the voter to see for whom he or she has voted. A total of 2,651 EVM control units, 2,651 ballot units and 2,596 VVPAT's are being used in the polling process.
Moreover, the poll panel has deployed 53 companies of the para-military forces here and 10 companies of the provincial armed constabulary (PAC) to avert any untoward incident during polling in high stake
bypoll to the two seats.
In Kairana, the direct contest is between Mriganka Singh of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Tabassum Hassan who is contesting on RLD ticket with support of SP< BSP< Cong, and AAP. In all there are 16,09,628 voters in Kairana of which 8,73,120 men, 7,36,431 women and 77 of the third gender. In Noorpur, BJP's Avni Singh is pitted against Naimul Hasan of the SP.
There are 3,06,226 male voters, 1,41,924 women and10 from the third gender. The Election Commission official said there are 2,056 polling booths and 1,094 polling centres. To ensure free, fair and peaceful elections, the poll panel has deputed three general observers and two expenditure observers.