Kairana, Uttar Pradesh: After VVPAT machines developed snags during Monday's Lok Sabha bypolls, repolling was held today in five booths of Shamli and 68 booths of Saharanpur falling under the Kairana parliamentary constituency, Maharashtra's Bhandara-Gondia and one polling station in Nagaland.
Voting began at a slow pace in Kairana - being viewed seen as a testing ground for opposition unity against the state's ruling BJP - this morning with only 18.71 per cent polling recorded in the first two hours. Voting ended with an estimated turn out of 61 per cent, the state election commission said.
But voters were faced with minor inconvenience at some booths. Polling was resumed in Bapu village following a brief interruption due to a snag in the electronic voting machine. In Sanga Kheda, a polling officer was found possessing a mobile phone inside a booth. Confusion ensued at the Sirsila village when polling officials by mistake announced that voting would be conducted at booth number 355 instead of booth number 356.
Kairana has nearly 16.4 lakh voters and 54 per cent had turned out to vote on Monday.
The Election Commission, taking note of the snags, announced the re-poll on Tuesday. Repolling will be held between 7 am and 6 pm. By-elections were held across 10 states on Monday when nearly 10 per cent of the 10,300 VVPAT, or Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail machines, developed faults and had to be replaced.
Kairana's Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) candidate Tabassum Hasan - backed by various opposition parties - complained to the EC about faulty EVMs.
But Chief Election Commissioner OP Rawat insisted there was no problem in the electronic voting machines. "There is no problem with EVMs. Problem was with VVPAT. The VVPATs machines used in these elections are new and used first time," Chief Election Commissioner OP Rawat told NDTV.
Heat may have been responsible for the snags in the VVPATs, according to Election Commission. "If VVPATs are kept directly under light it creates a problem," Mr Rawat had said.
(With inputs from PTI, IANS)