Gujarat polls: Voting resumes in Surat after 70 malfunctioning EVMs replaced

Ahmedabad: For the first phase of Gujarat elections, BJP and Congress are locked in head-to-head for 89 of 182 constituencies.

Kutch, Saurashtra have the maximum number of constituencies that vote in the first phase and are considered as crucial.

According to reports, 70 Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) had malfunctioned in Surat, some of which were later restored.

According to Indian Express, during the First Level Checks (FLCs) conducted across the state, the Election Commission (EC) has rejected 3,550 VVPATs that were found to be defective.

Vipul Goti, Master Trainer, Election Commission in Surat’s Varaccha said, two machines and one VVPAT have been replaced and said everything is okay and voting has resumed.

“There is no issue, at few places where machines had problems that has been resolved, machines have been replaced wherever required. Polling is going on peacefully,” said Bhavnagar District Collector Harshad Patel.

The percentage of VVPAT rejection has been the highest in Jamnagar, Devbhoomi Dwarka and Patan districts, official sources said Wednesday.

A total of 70,182 VVPATs will be used in the Gujarat polls that will be held in two phases on December 9 and 14. Of these, 46,000 devices are brand new and are coming directly from the Bangalore-based Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) and Hyderabad-based Electronics Corporation of India (ECIL). The rest have been procured from 11 states including Punjab, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand, Haryana, Goa and Karnataka.

The EC has also requested for an additional 4,150 VVPATs to replace the defective ones and to keep some as reserve.

This is the first time, VVPATs are being used in all the 182 assembly seats in Gujarat. Apart from the VVPATs, over 5245 Control Units (from a total of 62666 units) and 2907 Ballot Units (from 75000 units) were also found to defective during FLCs and have been returned. The control units were plagued with “clock-errors” and some were found to be broken.