Punjab polls: Multiple reports of malfunctioning EVMs, says AAP
With thousands of voters in Punjab pouring into voting booths on the first day of the Assembly election on Saturday, reports about malfunctioning of electronic voting machines (EVMs) in different parts of the state are making rounds.
In some of the high-profile constituencies, such as Majitha and Malout, complaints of malfunctioning EVMs by voter lead to delay in the voting process.
The 'AAP spy army' – a campaign launched by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) to promote monitoring of the election process – said that it had set up a helpline for both Punjab and Goa, where people can report such incidents. In Punjab alone, they received over 400 complaints of malfunctioning EVMs.
AAP media convenor for Punjab and Chandigarh, Manpreet Randhawa, told newspersons: "We received over 406 complaints from supporters all over Punjab of EVMs malfunctioning by 4 pm. This led to massive delay in the voting process. One of the regions with the highest number of complaints is Malout. We have even received complaints from Majitha."
"While we are still expecting to receive more such complaints, we have forwarded all the complaints we have received so far to the Election Commission. We hope that some action will be taken as polling enters the final few hours," Randhawa added.
Meanwhile, in Majitha – Punjab cabinet minister Bikram Singh Majitjhia's stronghold – there were reports of malfunctioning EVMs in at least 50 polling booths. AAP leader Sanjay Singh on Saturday tweeted: "In Majitha, machines at 50 polling booths are not functioning. The EC is not acting despite repeated complaints. Cops are stopping people from voting."
Other areas where reports of EVM malfunction came from include Lehra, Malout and Sangrur. Delhi Chief Minister and party convenor Arvind Kejriwal also lashed out at the EC in a tweet, saying: "EC has completely surrendered before Modiji, just like CBI n RBI."
At 5 pm, voter turnout in Punjab was 70%. Of the three regions in Punjab, Malwa recorded the highest voter turnout at 82.7% while the border region of Majha had the lowest at 66%. The Doaba region had a turnout of 68.2%.
Of Punjab's 22 districts, the highest voter turnout was in Fazilka district, which houses the seat of Jalalabad where Deputy CM
Sukhbir Singh Badal is locked in an intense battle with AAP leader Bhagwant Mann and Congress's Ravneet Singh Bittu.