EC orders repolling in 123 stations after VVPAT snag in bypolls

Over 11 per cent of the 10,300 VVPAT, or Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail, machines across 10 states had developed faults and had to be replaced on Monday. File photo

The Election Commission has ordered repolling in 123 polling stations in three of the four parliamentary constituencies in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Nagaland where polling for the bye-elections on Monday were disturbed as a large number of Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) devices malfunctioned.

The Election Commission on Tuesday ordered that repolling would be held in 73 polling stations in Kairana parliamentary constituency in Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday. The commission also ordered repolling in 49 polling stations in Bhandara-Gondia parliamentary constituency in Maharashtra and one polling station in the lone parliamentary constituency in Nagaland — both on Wednesday.

The poll panel also acted against Collector of Gondia, Abhimanyu Kale, who was the returning officer for the bypoll in Bhandara-Gondia constituency. The poll panel received several complaints about his failure to enforce the Model Code of Conduct and hold polling according to the guidelines set by it. He was replaced with Kadambari Balkawde who has already taken over as the collector and would oversee the repolling as the returning officer on Wednesday.

Altogether, 1,202 VVPAT devices out of the total 10,365 deployed malfunctioned during bypolls in the Lok Sabha and Assembly constituencies in 10 states across the country on Monday.

Ninety-six of the total 12,695 ballot units and 84 of the 10,365 of the electronic voting machines were also replaced as they malfunctioned, the poll panel stated.

The maximum number of VVPATs malfunctioned in Bhandara-Gondia parliamentary constituency in Maharashtra. Altogether, 413 VVPATs out of 2,149 deployed in as many polling stations in the constituency had to be replaced. Forty-three malfunctioning control units and 32 ballot units of the EVMs were also replaced with functional ones kept in reserve in the constituency. Besides, altogether 355 malfunctioning VVPATs were replaced out of the 1,705 deployed in as many polling stations in Kairana parliamentary constituency in Uttar Pradesh. Only three ballot units and an equal number of control units of the EVMs malfunctioned and had to be replaced during the polling in the constituency.

A joint delegation of the Rashtriya Lok Dal, Samajwadi Party and the Congress, and a separate delegation of BJP representatives had met the Election Commission on Monday to bring to its notice concerns about functioning of the VVPAT machines in some of the polling booths during bye-elections.

The repolling in Kairana in Uttar Pradesh and Bhandara-Gondia in Maharashtra will be conducted from 7 am to 6 pm on Wednesday. The same in Nagaland will be held from 7 am to 3 pm on the same day, the EC stated.

The counting of votes will be held on Thursday.

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EC orders repolling in 123 stations after VVPAT snag in bypolls

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