Voting begins in Gujarat, complaints of EVMS malfunctioning galore


Gujarat Global News Network, Gandhinagar

Voting for 93 constituencies in the second phase of Gujarat elections began today here on a slow note. Till 12 noon the voting percentage was less than 30%, complaints of EVM malfunctioning and communal clashes in Vadodara marked the polling day.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi voted in Ranip area around 11.30 am. Huge crowd had gathered to cheer him. After casting his vote Modi walked for a small distance waiving at the crowds. Later he stood on the foot board of his car and waived at the crowd.

Congress termed this ‘road show’ of Modi as violation of code of conduct and submitted a complaint to the Chief Election Commissioner(CEC).

“Prime Minister Modi’s road show after casting vote is a clear case of violation of the model code of conduct. Election Commission it seems is working under pressure from PM and PMO,” Congress leader Ashok Gehlot.

Congress spokesperson Randeep Surjewala said, “The Chief Election Commissioner, who was PS (personal secretary) to Modi ji, is still working as his PS”, and called it a “matter of shame” for the Election Commission.

Aaj jab humne EC se subah pucha apni compliant ke baare mein toh kaha ki 5 baje ke baad jawab denge. Mukhya Chunav Aayukt jo PS to Modi ji the aaj bhi PS to Modi ji ki terah kaam kar rahe hain. Ye chunav aayog ke liye sharm ki baat hai,” Surjewala said.

Clashes between members of two communities in Savli area in Vadodara district were reported. Voting was suspended for sometime. Few two wheelers were burnt. The police reached the spot and brought the situation under control.

Gujarat Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) B. B. Swain on Thursday said that out of total machines deployed for the second phase of the polls, 1.63 percent of the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trails (VVPATs) were replaced after mock polls.

He said that as compared to the phase 1 of the state polling, less than 50 percent cases of EVM replacements were reported in the phase 2.

He said that they have received two complaints regarding presence of bluetooth in the polling booths in Ghatlodia and Mehsana. “After receiving complaints regarding these two places, we have sent observers to the spot,” he added.

Giving more details on the voting percentage, Swain said, “Till 12 noon- 12.3 percent voters have turnout.

“In Banaskantha- 12.52 , Patan-11.77, Mehsana-15.3, Sabarkantha-15.9, Aravali-13.8, Gandhinagar-14.91, Ahmedabad-9.64, Anand-13.35, Kheda-13.20, Mahisagar-12.93, Panchmahal-13.35, Dahol-11.58, Vadodra-12.81, Chota Udaipur 11.04 percent,” he added.

Meanwhile, there were several complaints made to the Election Commission against the electronic voting machines in and around Vadodara city. At many places, the polling was halted due to such malfunctioning.

A glitch in the EVM in Gujarat’s Chhota Udaipur earlier in the day prevented voters from casting their votes for about fifty minutes. The device stopped working due to a wire problem, which was later fixed.

“The EVM in Sankheda’s Sodhaliya village in Chhota Udaipur was dysfunctional for 50 minutes, so voting was halted for that duration,” said Gaurang Rana, Polling Officer. “We fixed the machine and now the voting is underway,” he added.

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