- 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
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."
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley dismissed the allegations, saying, "Whenever EVMs are used, and since they are used in thousands of polling booths, then sometimes complaints come from a few booths of machines malfunctioning. And the Election Commission has arrangements, it is not as if it is happening for the first time."
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.