Amid reports of faulty EVMs from various polling stations in both Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, the Election Commission came out with a statement denying that the failure of the voting machines was unusual. The central poll panel termed the reports of ‘large scale failure of EVM’ as “exaggerated projection of reality”.
By-polls are held on 4 Lok Sabha and 10 Assembly seats whose results will be counted on May 31.
“… the Commission allocates sufficient reserve of EVMs and VVPATs for every general and by election to the Lok Sabha or state assembly. 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 per cent) are prepared to replace any defective machine on poll day at the polling station,” it said.
It said the reserve EVMs/VVPATs are kept with sector officers, who replace the defective EVMs/VVPATs. Since each sector officer is entrusted with only 10-12 polling stations, the time taken to replace any EVM/VVPAT is normally less than 30 minutes.
“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,” the statement read.
The poll panel also rejected reports that polling was cancelled in 35 booths in Bhandara-Gondiya LS constituency in Maharashtra.
“Also, the reports emerging in some quarters about EVMs/VVPATs failing in 25 per cent polling booths in the same constituency are also incorrect. It is clarified that voting has not been cancelled in any polling station in Bhandara-Gondiya constituency and voting is continuing smoothly after necessary replacements,” it said.
As and when a report from poll officials regarding long interruption of polling is received, the Commission takes a decision on those matters on case to case basis, it said.
“The Commission undertakes a comprehensive examination and root-cause analysis of all defects observed in the machines through the Technical Experts Committee of the Commission and necessary remedial actions are being taken for smooth conduct of poll process,” the statement added.
(With inputs from PTI)