Former Union minister Praful Patel claimed that almost 25 per cent of the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) malfunctioned in the bypoll to Maharashtra’s Bhandara-Gondia Lok Sabha seat on Monday.
He also sought to know why EVMs from Surat in Gujarat were used in the bypoll when similar machines were available in Maharashtra.
“EVMs were available in Maharashtra. What was the reason for bringing EVMs from Surat in Gujarat. We have expressed our doubts to the Election Commission,” Patel said in Gondia.
To say that EVMs malfunctioned due to excessive heat is shocking, the senior NCP leader said, and demanded re-polling soon in the booths where the voting machines failed.
“In developed countries like the US, Germany, France and Japan, the use of EVMs was stopped and they reverted to ballot papers,” he said.
Patel, who lost from the Bhandara-Gondia constituency in the 2014 Lok Sabha election, said his party had raised the issue about the faulty EVMs with the Election Commission.
He also pointed out that the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines, which eject slips to confirm the voter’s choice were not functioning.
“As and when re-polling takes place, will we be able to count every slip,” he added.
In Bhandara-Gondia, the BJP and the NCP have locked horns in the bypoll, being held after the resignation of BJP MP Nana Patole.
Patole, a leader of the powerful OBC Kunbi community, had switched side from the Congress to the BJP and was elected as an MP from the constituency in Vidarbha in 2014 by defeating Praful Patel.
The NCP, which has allied with the Congress, has fielded former BJP MLA Madhukar Kukde, against BJP’s Hemant Patle, who belongs to the Powar community and is also a former legislator.