More than 100 EVMs malfunction in first phase of Gujarat polls, demand for ballot papers grows

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Within few hours of the the first phase of Gujarat assembly polls, there have been complaints of over 100 EVMs malfunctioning. Some machines have already been replaced, said the Election Commission officials stationed at the affected polling booths.

70 of those machines were reported from Surat alone. Rest were reported to have malfunctioned across Saurashtra region, another BJP bastion, where the saffron party had won more than 40 seats in 2012.

Chief Election Commissioner Achal Kumar Joti, however, played down the significance of EVMs malfunctioning. He told NDTV, “There are 24,000 polling booths in Gujarat. The problem has occurred in 7 or 8 booths. We have a number of EVMs in reserve. Concerned officials keeping continuous check.”

Opposition parties have been demanding the use of ballot papers casting their doubts on the reliability of the machines used in the Indian election process. Some have accused the BJP of directly benefiting from the tampered EVMs. Soon after the assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh and Punjab, both Mayawati and Arvind Kejriwal had complained of potential tampering in the EVMs.

As the reports of faulty EVMs poured in, the demand to return to ballot papers gained momentum.

The second and the last phase of elections in Gujarat will take place on 14 December while the counting is scheduled to happen on 18 December.

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