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Last Updated : Nov 28, 2018 11:14 PM IST | Source: PTI

Congress seeks re-polling on booths hit by long hours of EVM snag

The senior Congress leader alleged that BJP leaders tried to influence the elections and showed half a dozen audio and video clips, which according to him, established wrongdoings.

The Congress in Madhya Pradesh sought re-polling in booths where, it claimed, EVMs remained out of order for three hours during the assembly elections.

State Congress president Kamal Nath said he had spoken to Chief Election Commissioner O P Rawat and MP Chief Electoral Officer V L Kantha Rao in this regard.

"I had telephonic talks with CEC O P Rawat and Chief Electoral Officer Kantha Rao and sought re-polling in those polling booths where EVMs remained non-functional for three hours," he told reporters after voting concluded.

However, the former Union minister did not specify the number of booths where the Congress has sought re-polling.

The senior Congress leader alleged that BJP leaders tried to influence the elections and showed half a dozen audio and video clips, which according to him, established wrongdoings.

When contacted, Rao said the Congress has lodged complaints regarding malfunctioning of EVMs with the respective presiding officers.

"The observers will examine it (complaints) and thereafter forward their reports to the EC (Election Commission) which will then take a call on it (re-polling demand)," he added.

"According to our knowledge, voting was not abandoned for more than two hours due to EVM malfunctioning in any part of Madhya Pradesh," the CEO said.

However, the EC would rely on observers reports in this connection, Rao said.

When asked about claims that a large number of EVMs had malfunctioned during the election, Rao said the count of such machines was just 1.5 percent of the total and this was an average figure.

About Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines, the CEO said their malfunction rate was 3.5 percent which was less than what was seen in the Karnataka and Gujarat elections.

In Chhattisgarh, where the assembly elections were held in two phases on November 12 and 20, the VVPAT machine malfunction rate was around two percent, he said.

VVPAT is an independent printer system attached with EVMs that allows the voters to verify that their votes are cast as intended.

"We have lodged 150 complaints with the EC in regard to polling," Kamal Nath said.

He claimed that a large number of EVMs malfunctioned and at some places their replacements, too, developed snags.

Asked about the elections' outcome, which will be known on December 11, the Lok Sabha MP from Chhindwara said his party will sweep Madhya Pradesh.

"Earlier I had said the Congress will win more than 140 seats out of the total 230, but now it will be far more than that," he said.

Asked who will become the chief minister in case the Congress wins the Madhya Pradesh assembly polls, Nath said party president Rahul Gandhi will decide about it.

Assembly Elections 2018: Read the latest news, views and analysis here
First Published on Nov 28, 2018 11:02 pm
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