Mumbai, May 28: Amid Opposition’s allegations that nearly 25 per cent EVMs being used in the bypoll in the Bhandara-Gondiya parliamentary constituency on Monday were malfunctioning, the Election Commission said all defective machines have been replaced and polling has resumed.
Election Commission (EC) officer in-charge Abhimanyu Kale told the media that around 156 Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) or Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) were replaced or spares deployed.
Walaskar had told the media in the morning that voting has been stopped in 35 polling stations and would be conducted at a later date owing to serious glitches in the EVMs. Senior Nationalist Congress Party leader Praful Patel alleged that “nearly 25 per cent of all the EVMs in Bhandara-Gondiya are defective or malfunctioning”. Hundreds of voters patiently waited to cast their votes in the blistering heat as the EVMs were replaced. However, the defective machines hit polling severely, with barely 25 per cent of the electorate casting their votes by 2 p.m. in both constituencies. Ruling ally Shiv Sena leaders also strongly criticized the EC and the government for the glitches and claimed that these were reported mostly from the party’s strongholds. Sena MP Sanjay Raut said the glitch is nothing but a manifestation of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis’ recent controversial statement on ‘Saam, Daam, Dand, Bhed’. Congress state spokesperson Sachin Sawant alleged large-scale irregularities as the BJP was attempting to make the Lok Sabha bypolls ‘My-polls’ in Palghar and Bhandara-Gondiya. Both elections are prestigious for the state’s ruling BJP, which faces the NCP in Bhandara-Gondiya and its own ally Shiv Sena in Palghar. (IANS)