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Published On: Mon, May 28th, 2018

EVM In UP, Maharashtra Hit By Heat Wave: EC

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689997-elections1NEW DELHI :  As complaints about malfunctioning voting machines flowed in from Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh during the by-elections today, the Election Commission said the “severe heat conditions” were interfering with the machines.

Kairana in Uttar Pradesh, where Ajit Singh’s RLD has already lodged a complaint, is one of the most-watched by-polls of the 14 elections that are being held across 10 states. The parliamentary constituency is seen as a test case of opposition unity.

The Election Commission has termed as “exaggerated projection of reality” reports of ‘large-scale’ failure of EVMs during Lok Sabha and Assembly bypolls in Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra. Amid reports of faulty EVMs from various polling stations, the commission came out with a statement to deny that the failure of the voting machines was unusual.

At booths where polling was disrupted for more than two hours due to malfunctioning VVPATs, the election commission could consider re-polling after going through the reports of district election officers, said UP’s chief electoral officer. Bypolls in Maharashtra’s Palghar and Bhandara-Gondiya parliamentary constituencies are witnessing key contests where the BJP is fighting to come back.

It added that the reserve EVMs/VVPATs are kept with sector officers, who replace the defective EVMs/VVPATs. Since each sector officer is entrusted with only 10-12 polling stations, the time taken to replace any EVM/VVPAT is normally less than 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, BJP delegation met EC officials in Delhi over reports of malfunctioning in EVMs during bypolls on Monday. “We told them that we received info that EVMs worked either late or with some issues or didn’t work at all in 197 booths, demanded re-polling at few stations,” says BJP’s Arun Singh.
Polling was held for bypolls to four Lok Sabha seats and 10 Assembly constituencies spread across 10 states. Besides Kairana in western Uttar Pradesh, bypolls were held in Bhandara-Gondiya and Palghar parliamentary constituencies in Maharashtra and Nagaland Lok Sabha seat.
The Assembly bypolls were held in Maharashtra (Palus Kadegaon constituency), Uttar Pradesh (Noorpur), Bihar (Jokihat), Jharkhand (Gomia and Silli), Kerala (Chengannur), Meghalaya (Ampati), Punjab (Shahkot), Uttarakhand (Tharali) and West Bengal (Maheshtala).The counting of votes will take place on May 31.

In  Kairana, RLD candidate Tabassum Hassan filed a complaint alleging that around 150 voting machines were malfunctioning. The biggest polling station of the constituency is seeing a sluggish pace of voting after over 10 voting machines stopped working. Till 6 pm, over 54% voting was recorded, UP’s Chief Electoral Officer said.

The BJP has fielded Mriganka Singh, daughter of Hukum Singh whose death made the election necessary. On Sunday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a public meeting in Baghpat, close to the Kairana constituency and spoke of issues that the opposition alleges is a breach of the model code of conduct.

The opposition parties are expecting their network to deliver Dalit, Muslim and Jat votes to Tabassum Hasan. It expected to recreate the successes in Gorakhpur and Phulpur, seats earlier held by UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and his deputy Keshav Prasad Maurya.
Bypoll to Palghar Lok Sabha seat in Maharashtra has added further tension to the strained ties between the Shiv Sena and the BJP. After the Shiv Sena gave a ticket to the son of a sitting BJP lawmaker who died earlier this year, the BJP fielded former Congress minister Rajendra Gavit, who joined the party earlier this month

In Maharashtra’s Bhandara-Gondiya, District Magistrate Abhimanyu Kale said voting was temporarily suspended at 35 booths due to faulty Electronic Voting Machines. By-election to the reserved constituency is taking place after the sitting BJP parliamentarian Nana Patole joined the Congress.

The BJP has fielded its former lawmaker Hemant Patle against NCP’s Madhukar Kukde, who is also supported by the Congress.
The Nagaland assembly seat fell vacant after Neiphiu Rio resigned and became chief minister.
His Nationalist Democratic People’s Party partnered with the BJP to form a government earlier this year. In  today’s bypoll, it’s a direct contest between the two regional fronts, one backed by the BJP and the other backed by the Congress.
The Congress is hoping to win the central Kerala assembly seat of Chengannur, where it’s the Left that usually gets the voters’ backing. The BJP too is hoping to perform better in Chengannur than it did in the 2016 state elections.
In Bihar’s Jokihat, the by-poll is being seen as a prestige battle for Chief Minister Nitish Kumar as sitting JD(U) lawmaker Sarfaraz Alam quit the party and joined the RJD after Mr Kumar joined hands with the BJP last year. After Mr Alam won the Araria Lok Sabha bypoll earlier this year, the RJD has fielded his younger brother to taken on JD(U)’s Murshid Alam.
Bypolls in Ampati assembly seat in Meghalaya’s Garo hills is a battle between the ruling National People’s Party-led alliance led by Chief Minister Conrad Sangma and the Congress, led by former Chief Minister Mukul Sangma.( With Inputs from the Agency).

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