ECI orders re-polling in 6 booths of Kandhamal, Bargarh & Sundargarh districts
Bhubaneswar: Technical glitches associated with EVM and VVPAT machines marred second phase polling in five Lok Sabha and 35 Assembly constituencies of Odisha, Thursday.
Problems in EVM and VVPAT machines were reported from various places in the state delaying the polling process. Terming the snags as technical, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Surendra Kumar suspended voting in six polling booths.
Polling was held for five Lok Sabha (Bargarh, Sundargarh, Bolangir, Kandhamal and Aska) and 35 Assembly constituencies.
Police DG BK Sharma said polling process concluded in many areas in a peaceful and smooth manner. Polling passed off peacefully even in Naxalite-affected areas.
“Barring a few minor incidents, no untoward incident was reported from anywhere,” he asserted.
Briefing media persons here, the CEO said voting started at 7 am across the state. However, polling was delayed in some booths due to problems in installation of the machines. Till 5 pm, 64 per cent voting was recorded, he said, adding, polling is still going on in some booths as voters were in queue.
The Commission has adjourned polling in six booths – No. 129 of Bonai Assembly constituency and booth No. 213 of Sundargarh Assembly segment (both part of Sundargarh LS segment) and booth No. 210 & 222 of Daspalla Assembly segment in Kandhamal parliamentary constituency, Kumar informed reporters.
Later, similar problems cropped up at polling station 235 of Atabira and 68 of Bargarh Assembly segment under Bargarh LS constituency, he said. The voters were disappointed and had to return without casting their votes after long hours of waiting at these stations.
The CEO later clarified that polling has been countermanded due to human glitches and not due to technical snags developed in EVM or VVPAT.
“The anomaly in polling process has developed due to cross bearing of EVMs and VVPATs. Although the polling officials had been given adequate training, a faulty EVM was replaced. The EC will initiate action against the errant officials for dereliction of duty”, Kumar added.
Voting was also delayed at many other areas due to similar problems. In Sundargarh, EVM glitches were reported from five other booths in Bonai. Malfunctioning of EVMs occurred in Talsara as well. Union Tribal Affairs Minister Jual Oram was seen waiting in a queue to cast his vote at a booth in Kendudihi, as polling was delayed there.
According to sources, EVM malfunctioning was also reported from booths in Loisinga, Kurei, Turekela and Aaglpur in Bolangir district while voters in booth Nos 198, 199 and 200 of Titlagarh faced similar difficulties. Such incidents were also reported from Kandhamal, Bargarh’s Sohela and Attabira area and Buguda area under Aska Lok Sabha constituency. An old man died while he was waiting in a long queue to cast his vote in Kansamari booth of Sanakhemundi Assembly constituency.
Meanwhile, Nilamani Bisoi , a BJP candidate from Sorada Assembly constituency, was detained in a police station for allegedly smashing a voting machine at polling booth No.182 in Renti village under his Assembly constituency. An FIR was being lodged in connection with the incident, said Ganjam Superintendent of Police Brijesh Kumar Rai.
There are also reports of villagers boycotting elections at some places in the State. More than 20 villages have boycotted elections demanding basic services like road, drinking water and healthcare among other things.