Maharashtra Legislative Council Chairman Ramraje Nimbalkar directed the state government to submit a statement over the malfunctioning of an electronic voting machine (EVM) in Buldhana district.
Nimbalkar gave the direction after MLC Sanjay Dutt (Congress) raised the issue through rule 289 in the Council.
The Buldhana district collectorate earlier admitted that one of the EVMs that was used in the local body polls, held in February this year, was malfunctioning. An independent candidate, Asha Arun Zore, who contested the zilla parishad election, had raised objection after it was found that the votes were getting registered in favour of BJP despite pressing the button indicating her poll symbol (coconut).
After technical investigation of the machine, the district collectorate officials, in their report sent to the state government, admitted that voters were pressing a button but the votes were getting registered in favour of BJP. Dutt said that during the polling for the zilla parishad election at booth number 56 in Sultanpur of Lonar taluka in February, it was found and confirmed by an election officer that votes cast to independent candidate Asha Zore were getting registered in favour of the BJP candidate. He said that the Buldhana district collector, in a written report sent to the state government, confirmed it.
“The incident has proved that an EVM can be manipulated and, infact, confirms several complaints received from across the state in local body elections, that votes polled for other candidates were registered in favour of the BJP candidates,” Dutt said. “The Maharashtra government and the State Election Commission had then ignored these complaints and tried to push them under the carpet, instead of conducting a detailed inquiry into them,” he alleged. The MLC said that the malfunctioning of an EVM in Buldhana has raised doubts over the verdict of the local body polls and dented the credibility of the “expected free, fair and transparent process of the elections,” which is the essence of the democratic system.
Responding to Dutts demand for a discussion over the issue, Nimbalkar said, “The government should submit a statement over the issue.”