VVPAT glitches much lower dur­ing Ra­jasthan polls: CEO

Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur) - - Rajasthan - HT Cor­re­spon­dent let­[email protected]­dus­tan­times.com

POLL DAY CEO says only 1.45% of 68,303 ma­chines were faulty, had to be re­placed

When the polling in Ra­jasthan be­gan at 8am on Fri­day, many queu­ing out­side the booths com­plained of slow pace of the process. Some elec­tors pre­sumed the de­lay was be­cause of the Voter Ver­i­fi­able Pa­per Au­dit Trail (VVPAT) ma­chines.

Ra­jasthan’s chief elec­toral of­fi­cer (CEO) Anand Ku­mar said dur­ing the mock poll, 1.56% VVPAT ma­chines re­ported glitches. Dur­ing polling post 8am, this came down to 1.45%.

This is much lower than the num­ber of VVPAT ma­chines changed dur­ing the assem­bly elec­tion in Mad­hya Pradesh, where vot­ing took place on Novem­ber 28. The elec­tion of­fi­cials in MP had said 3% VVPAT ma­chines had glitches.

There were re­ports of elec­tronic vot­ing ma­chines (EVMs) de­vel­op­ing snag dur­ing the first two hours of the polling in Ra­jasthan. How­ever, the CEO said only 0.31% of bal­lot units and 0.3% of control units were re­placed.

“I came to the polling sta­tion at 9.30am and I was able cast my vote at 11am. The staff on duty told me that the de­lay was be­cause of the VVPAT. The ma­chine takes seven sec­onds to dis­play the vot­ing slip be­fore the next voter is al­lowed to en­ter,” said Rachna Jindal, who cast her vote at the Gov­ern­ment Se­nior Sec­ondary School booth in Sirsi vil­lage in Jhot­wara con­stituency.

The Congress also blamed faulty EVMs and VVPAT ma­chines for the slow process.

“We re­ceived about 400 com­plaints at our control room re­gard­ing the EVMs not switch­ing on and about VVPAT ma­chines mal­func­tion­ing,” said state Congress gen­eral sec­re­tary Sushil Sharma, adding that the party com­plained to the state elec­tion com­mis­sion about the slow pace of polling.

Ku­mar, how­ever, de­nied this and said that the fail­ure rate of EVMs and VVPAT ma­chines in Ra­jasthan was “much lower” than the stan­dard fail­ure rate.

The CEO said that 68,894 bal­lot units, 59,160 control units and 68,303 VVPAT ma­chines were used at 51,687 polling cen­tres across the 199 assem­bly con­stituen­cies where vot­ing took place on Fri­day.

The VVPAT ma­chines were ear­lier used in Mad­hya Pradesh and Ch­hat­tis­garh state elec­tions. In Ch­hat­tis­garh, 70 VVPAT ma­chines and 40 EVMs had to be re­placed.

Bharatiya Janata Party state spokesper­son Pankaj Meena said: “The com­plaints filed by the Congress with the Elec­tion Com­mi­sion in­di­cate that they are go­ing to lose the elec­tions with a huge mar­gin.”

JAIPUR:

AP PHOTO

Men show the in­deli­ble ink mark on their in­dex fin­gers af­ter cast­ing their vote in vil­lage Padampura near Ajmer on Fri­day.

HT PHOTO

NCC vol­un­teers as­sist a dif­fer­ently abled voter in Jaipur.

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