New Delhi, May 28: The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Monday debunked the news reports alleging large-scale failure of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) in the ongoing bye-elections in Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh. The ECI said it is just an exaggerated projection of reality while clarifying that poll body allocates sufficient reserve of EVMs and VVPATs for every General/Bye-election to the Lok Sabha or State Legislative Assembly. Also Read - Uttar Pradesh Cabinet Clears Ordinance Against 'Love jihad', to Check Forced Religious Conversion
It is pertinent to mention that during commissioning of EVMs and VVPATs, apart from EVMs and VVPATs required for deployment at every polling station, adequate number of reserve EVMs and VVPATs (around 20-25 percent) are prepared to replace any defective machine on poll day at the polling station. (Watch Live Updates of Bypolls Here) Also Read - 'Freedom of Choice, Not Love Jihad': Court Scraps Hindu-Muslim Row, UP Govt Set For Crucial Meet Today
These reserve EVMs/VVPATs are kept with Sector Officers, who replace the defective EVMs/VVPATs, if any report on non-functioning of EVM/VVPAT received from any polling station. The poll body further noted that the replacement of defective EVMs/VVPATs during actual polls is a normal process and does not vitiate the integrity or credibility of the poll process in any way whatsoever. Also Read - Night Curfew, Cap on Wedding Guests, Mandatory Test For Travel: How States Are Fighting Fresh COVID Spike
The ECI also rebuffed the media reports of polling being cancelled in 35 booths in 11-Bhandara-Gondiya Parliamentary Constituency in Maharashtra and said that it is not based on facts. Also, the reports emerging in some quarters about EVMs/VVPATs failing in 25 percent polling booths in the same PC are also incorrect, the poll body said.
The ECI further said that it undertakes a comprehensive examination and root-cause analysis of all the defects observed in the machines through the Technical Experts Committee of the Commission.
Meanwhile, Maharashtra Deputy Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Shirish Mohod said, “There have been certain cases of failure due to technical problems of EVMs and VVPATS during polling in 22-Palghar and 11-Bhandara-Gondiya Parliamentary constituencies which have been replaced.”
“These issues come up because of technical engineering problems and therefore, we keep reserve machines for replacement. Machines are replaced as and when required following a protocol. Polling is going on peacefully in both the constituencies,” he added.
As the polling in 14 Lok Sabha and assembly constituencies in ten states of India is underway, reports of faulty Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) were surfaced from many booths.