- Some EVMs failed in Surat today as Gujarat votes in 1st phase
- All faulty EVMs have been replaced, say officials
- There are a number of EVMs in reserve
Amid allegations by the Congress that electronic voting machines or EVMs malfunctioned in several parts of Gujarat in the first phase of assembly elections today, the Election Commission said on Saturday afternoon that about 0.5 per cent of the total ballot units and control units - which make up the EVM - had to be replaced during voting. That is about 181 ballot units and 223 control units, apart from 714 VVAPT or the voter verified paper audit trail machines.
Chief Election Commissioner Achal Kumar Joti said, "Overall number looks large, but as proportion of total much less machines were found faulty. They were replaced."
Brushing off the Congress allegations, Union minister Arun Jaitley said, "I cannot help but say they are alibis in preparation for a possible defeat". After the voting ended at 5 pm, the minister said, "The BJP estimates that we will not only get a comfortable but a landslide win. In most places, people of all sections have supported the BJP".
Asserting that the Congress is headed for a win in Gujarat, its senior leader Ahmed Patel said, "if there is some problem with the EVM or any mischief only then can there be a problem...Otherwise there is not a shred of doubt that Congress will win this time...Wherever there are complaints about EVMs, they should be fixed."
His colleague from the party's Gujarat unit, Shaktisinh Gohil, alleged "a conspiracy."
Opposition parties have been campaigning against EVMs since earlier this year, alleging mass-scale rigging in the Uttar Pradesh and Uttarkhand, where assembly elections were swept by the BJP. Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party alleged EVMs were tampered with in Punjab, where his party lost to the Congress.
The Election Commission has denied the allegations, asserting that EVMs are secure and tamper-proof.