As Kairana Lok Sabha Constituency went to bypolls on Monday, the malfunctioning of the EVMs and VVPAT emerged to be the biggest story from the polling ground. The extent of EVMs malfunctioning grew severe as the day progressed. More than 200 EVMs and VVPATs from the polling booths of all the five assembly segments of the Lok Sabha were reportedly malfunctioning, which led to the Samajwadi Party (SP) and Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) to raise allegations of “scientific rigging” in the byelection. Interestingly, even the BJP leadership raised the issue of EVM malfunctioning and urged the EC to conduct repolls at some booths. The RLD’s candidate in Kairana Tabassum Hasan, who got the support of Opposition parties, wrote to the chief election commissioner complaining about malfunctioning EVM and VVPATs in her constituency. She alleged that despite raising the issue at the state and national level, the local administration was not dealing with the issue. The voters were being deprived of their right and hence the Election Commission must urgently send engineers and technicians to repair the machines, she wrote.
In her complaint to the EC – a copy of which is with Newsclick – Tabbassum said that by the noon time, “EVM related issues have been reported in booths in each of the five Assembly segments in Kairana. Shamli: 47 booths, Kairana 13, Gangoh 48, Nakud 38, and Thana Bhawan 9”. The cases of EVM malfunctioning increased as the day progressed, she alleged.
There was substantial amount of anger among the electorate as they faced severe difficulties in casting their vote.
Many of the local Muslim leaders complained that after the EVMs stopped functioning, many of the voters in Muslim area of Kairana returned home from the booths because they were fasting and they could not stand in the long queues in the terrible heat. This was deliberate, they alleged.