Shamli: An estimated 58 per cent polling was registered in the Kairana Lok Sabha and Noorpur Assembly bypolls in Uttar Pradesh despite incidents of malfunctioning of several Electronic Voting Machines(EVMs) on Monday.
The Election Commission said the polling which started on a dull note, however, picked up later.An estimated 58 per cent votes were polled till 1800 hrs on both the seats. However, an EC official said that as people who are in the queue at 1800 hrs will be eligible to vote.
In Kairana, the total poll percentage was 54.17 per cent, while in Noorpur it was 61 per cent.
In 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Kairana polled 73.05 per cent, while in 2017 Assembly polls, Noorpur witnessed 66.82 per cent.
Meanwhile , Saharanpur District Magistrate PK Pandey told reporters that polling could not take place in as many as 35 polling booths there due to malfunctioning of the EVM and VVPAT (voter verified paper audit trail) in the two assembly segments of Kairana Lok Sabha constituency.
The report has been sent to the Election Commission recommending repoll and the directions from the poll panel are awaited. Gangoh and Nakur assembly segments of the Kairana Lok Sabha seat fall in Saharanpur district.
The district magistrate said that out of total 764 polling booths in Gangoh and Nakur 249 EVMs were replaced. He said polling could not be held in Laddha village of the Gangoh assembly seat.
There were also reports of some minor incidents during the polling. In Kairana, police had to use mild force to disperse a mob in Chausana area of Shamli. The people were alleging that some youths were trying to vote forcefully. The agents of BJP and RLD too clashed over the issue.
Another report said that in Babri area, villagers of Pal community in Caddy village boycotted the polling in protest against their local leaders.In Noorpur, a former SP MP Yashveer Singh was detained by police in Nagina area when he was ferrying the voters on his vehicle.
Political parties, including Samajwadi Party and Rashtriya Lok Dal along with BJP, had raised the issue of malfunctioning of the EVMs.However, the EC claimed that the polling was peaceful with reports of some malfunctioning of the EVMs.
State Chief Electoral Officer L Vekenteshwar Lu in Lucknow refuted the charges of the opposition about the malfunctioning of the EVMs. He also met the delegation of Samajwadi Party and BJP in his office on Monday.
Mr Lu said just 15 per cent of the machines were found defective and all have been replaced as already EC had 25 per cent reserve EVMs.
"We are committed to ensuring that whosoever wants to vote will be eligible to cast their franchise even if it takes midnight to complete it. But whoever will be in the queue at 1800 hrs would be eligible to vote," he said, while adding that all the instructions have been given to the Divisional Commissioners and the district magistrates concerned. SP secretary general Ram Gopal Yadav and RLD president Ajit Singh also met Chief Election Commissioner in New Delhi to apprise about their complaints on the EVMs.
Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav has tweeted,"thousand of complaints were coming about the faulty EVMs and farmers, labourers, women and youths are standing in the queue in hot weather without food and water. Is this a technical fault or failure in the management or a conspiracy to deny the people to vote. Such move will shake up the democracy of the country."
Samajwadi Party has complained to the EC about disruption of polling in several booths of Kairana and Noorpur.However, BJP leaders, including UP president Mahendra Nath Pandey, alleged that the opposition have admitted their defeat by raking up complaints on EVMs and targeting the EC.
UP government spokesperson Sidharthnath Singh said here that by raising such issue, SP was just trying to admit that they have accepting their defeat."Can SP give a written complaint to the EC that they are ready for a re-polling in all the booths even if they won in the bypolls," Singh said.
BJP spokesperson Manish Shukla also said that EVMs was just a scapegoat for the opposition as they have admitted their defeat in the bypolls.
Polling was disrupted for more than two hours on several booths, party spokesperson Rajendra Choudhury claimed. SP president Akhilesh Yadav has faxed his complaint letter to the EC about the conspiracy hatched through the EVMs.
"There are reports that in Noorpur, 140 EVMs are faulty, which is because they've been tampered, there are similar reports from Kairana too. BJP want to avenge defeat of Phulpur and Gorakhpur, which is the reason they want to defeat us at any cost," Chaudhary told reporters here.
''Government machinery is being misused in Kairana and Noorpur bypolls and money along with muscle power is being used to win this elections," Choudhury alleged.RLD candidate from Kairana Tabassum Hasan too have sent a list of more than 100 booths in Kairana where voting was disrupted due to faulty EVMs.
Ms Tabassum Hasan, after casting her vote at Jain Dharamslaha booth in Kairana, alleged that machines are being tampered everywhere, faulty machines haven't been replaced in Muslim and Dalit dominated areas. "They (BJP) think they can win polls like this.That won't happen", she said.
A delegation of the UP BJP led by state president Dr Mahendra Nath Pandey while another led by party vice-president J P S Rathore met the UP CEO and apprised him about the disruption of polling in some booths. In a written complaint they said that poling was affected in 38 booths of Nakur assembly segment and 29 of Gangoh assembly segment of Kairana Lok Sabha seat.
The BJP delegation has demanded that EC should ensure that every voter was given opportunity to vote and if there was any disruption then they should order repolling in the booths.
Reports from Kairana said polling was affected in around 29 booths but the EC has admitted that the number was only around a dozen. Hundred of voters were reported to have return back to their houses after standing on the booth for two hours but the EVMs could not be repaired.
EVMs of Gandhi Nagar, Kalalhati, Ballammajra, Tatarpur, Gangoh, Begi, Santhathera, Husainpur under Gangoh assembly segment of Kairana Lok Sabha seat are not functioning.
In Kairana, 16.09 lakh voters will decide the fate of 12 candidates while in Noorpur Assembly seat in Baghpat district 3.06 lakh voters will decide the fate of 10 candidates.
BJP candidate Mriganka Singh is pitted against joint opposition RLD candidate Tabassum Hasan. The seat fell vacant due to death of BJP member Hukum Singh, father of Mriganka.
In Noorpur Assembly seat, Avni Singh, widow of Lokendra Singh, BJP member whose death caused the vacancy, is pitted against joint Opposition candidate SP's Naimul Hasan.
The polling for Kairana Lok Sabha seat is spread in two districts of Shamli and Saharanpur. The counting would be taken up on May 31.(UNI)