EVM glitches inconvenience voters across city
Kolkata: The seventh and final phase of Lok Sabha elections in the state were marred by a few instances of Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) glitches.
Rampant malfunctioning of EVMs was reported from both Kolkata North and Kolkata South, as well as some other constituencies. In some places, voters including elderly citizens were seriously inconvenienced after the EVMs developed technical glitches leading to suspension of the voting process for a while. The Election Commission officials soon addressed the crisis and voting resumed in the affected booths. The voters who queued up at a polling booth in Kolkata South in the morning, complained about poor management by the Election Commission and the malfunctioning voting machines. Senior citizens were found waiting in long queues at multiple booths.
An elderly voter standing in the queue outside a polling station under Kolkata South constituency said that he had reached the polling booth at 7 am and had to wait for more than 45 minutes as an EVM developed technical problem. It may be recalled that after taking cue from the previous phases of elections, the Election Commission had earlier assured that there would be alternative arrangements of EVMs in various booths. Senior Trinamool Congress leader and Mayor Firhad Hakim said polling could not be conducted smoothly at various booths of Kolkata South in the morning. In some places, polling was suspended for nearly one and half hour in the morning, Hakim said.
While answering media questions on allegations of violence against Trinamool by Opposition parties, Hakim said: "The Opposition parties in the state have lost their footing and hence they are coming up with cooked-up stories. The Central Forces and BJP tried hard but the people of the state are with Trinamool Congress. We will win all the nine constituencies that went to poll on Sunday, with a minimum margin of 2-3 lakh votes. We will win all 42 seats in the state."
Trinamool Congress candidate from Kolkata North Sudip Bandyopadhyay also voiced his protest against the malfunctioning of EVMs. He said that 15 out of 22 EVMs from the polling stations in Chowringhee area had malfunctioned. "I have spoken to some Election officials and they have admitted to the malfunctioning of EVMs," he added.
After the final phase of elections concluded, Chief Electoral Officer Ariz Aftab said: "The number of EVMs malfunctioning was under the permissible limit and they were replaced in all affected places."