Non-functioning of Voting Machines (EVMs) has been reported in several polling booths of Andhra Pradesh and West Bengal, in the first phase of general elections, begins this morning. TDP chief and AP Chief Minister N Chadnrababu Naidu alleged complained the Election Commission stating that 30 per cent of the EVMs were not functioning till 10 am.
Chief Electoral Officer Gopala Krishna Dwivedi himself could not cast his vote at Christianpeta Municipal High School in Tadepalli town in Guntur district due to malfunctioning of EVM. He pulled up the election officials in the polling station for not taking enough precautions. According to Dwivedi, reports of only 362 of the 45,000-odd EVMs malfunctioning have come to its notice.
There have been reports of malfunctioning of EVMs from almost all the districts in Andhra Pradesh due to technical snags. Polling did not commence till 9 am at several places in Anantapur, Guntur, Kadapa and Kurnool due to EVM troubles. Expressing serious concern over reports of failure of EVMs at several places across the state, Naidu said he had been saying right from the beginning that EVMs were unreliable as they were prone to technical glitches.
Naidu said that he is mulling to move the Supreme Court seeking direction to the Election Commission to tally slips from at least 25 per cent Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines with record of the EVMs in each assembly constituency in the state. “I have been advocating the usage of ballot papers instead of EVMs, which can be tampered. But the Election Commission was not bothered. At least now, it should have a rethinking on conducting the polls with ballot papers,” he said.
Naidu said he is planning to file a review petition in the top court, which recently directed the poll body to tally five VVPATs with the votes cast in the EVMs in each constituency. The Election Commission had originally announced to tally one VVPAT record with the EVM in each constituency.
Dwivedi said that the faulty EVMs would be replaced immediately and technical teams would attend to any problems. If necessary, time would be extended to enable the voters to cast their vote wherever polling could not commence on time, he said.
Jana Sena Party chief Pawan Kalyan also complained about EVM malfunctioning. He said around 200 EVMs were not functioning during the initial hours of polling.