Tamil Nadu: Delays & tech glitches fail to dim spirit of democracy

Chennai Central NTK candidate Karthikeyan complained that the light in the EVM didn’t blink when voters pressed his party’s symbol at a booth in Pallavan House.
(Photo | V KARTHIKALAGU, EPS)
(Photo | V KARTHIKALAGU, EPS)

CHENNAI: While the polling took place largely without any issues in most places on Friday, there were a few instances of delayed polling due to alleged lack of preparations and VVPAT unit malfunction in North Chennai.

Voting process at booth number 150 at the government high school in MKB Nagar, Vyasarpadi stopped at 11.30 am after one of the voters complained that VVPAT slip showed the Lotus symbol when he didn’t vote for it. Following this, the DMK and AIADMK functionaries staged a dharna.

The returning officer later clarified the VVPAT slip of the previous voter came delayed, resulting in the next voter receiving two slips. The polling resumed at 1 pm and a case was registered against the voter for disrupting the poll process.

Chennai Central NTK candidate Karthikeyan complained that the light in the EVM didn’t blink when voters pressed his party’s symbol at a booth in Pallavan House. Officials resolved this technical fault soon.

Voting began after much delay in a few other polling booths of Virugambakkam and Korukkupettai. “We arrived at 7 am but the polling didn’t begin till 8.45 am,” said an elderly at the booth in Virugambakkam. Officials said this happened as mock polls got delayed here.

In Sirukaveripakkam, a green booth in Kancheepuram constituency, and Ayakolathur village in Sriperumbudur constituency, polling was delayed for nearly 45 minutes in the morning due to the malfunctioning of EVM. Similarly, due to the non-functioning of VVPAT, the polling at Mathur and Thirumangalam in Sriperumbudur constituency was delayed for around 30 minutes.

While voting commenced at 7 am in Panchayat Union Middle School in Vellorepettai of Ranipet, it was suspended for around two hours as the VVPAT machine in booth number 49 here experienced a malfunction. Election officials replaced the machine and resumed the process. Similarly, there was a delay of 55 minutes in voting commencement due to a voting machine malfunction at a polling booth in Velam of Ranipet.

Voting was delayed for more than one hour at booth number 155 at Kadambathur Government Higher Secondary School in Tiruvallur due to technical glitches. Later, officials replaced the EVM and resumed voting.

The polling was by and large peaceful in Coimbatore, except for a few snags. Collector Kranthi Kumar Pati said there were delays in a few stations which were soon rectified.

Erode Returning Officer Raja Gopal Sunkara said four ballot units, two control units, and 13 VVPATs failed during polling, which were replaced soon.

Polling was delayed by at least an hour in ten stations in Nilgiris as EVMs malfunctioned. Polling resumed around 8.20 am, sources said.

EVM glitches EVMs were reported from Anna Nagar in Thanjavur, Okkanadu in Orathanadu, Sanoorappatti and Pillayarpatti, which were set right within an hour.

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