New Delhi: The high-profile electoral contest for western Uttar Pradesh's Kairana Lok Sabha seat, where the ruling BJP is locked in a straight fight with a joint opposition candidate, saw over 54 per cent of the constituency's voters casting their mandate amid complaints of malfunctioning of EVM and VVPAT machines.
Meanwhile, 61 per cent polling was recorded for the Noorpur Assembly seat bypoll which was also held today, an election commission official said. The polling was by and large peaceful.
At the end of polling, Kairana Lok Sabha constituency recorded a polling percentage of 54.17, while in Noorpur assembly constituency, the figure was 61 per cent, Joint Chief Electoral Officer, Ramesh Chandra Rai, said.
"Malfunctioning was reported in 384 VVPAT (Vote Verifiable Paper Audit Trail) machines in the state. Of this 29 were in Noorpur (Bijnor). Apart from this, three EVMs (Electronic Voting Machines) also malfunctioned in Shamli. Both, the malfunctioning EVMs and VVPATs were replaced," Rai told PTI.
Election Commission officials said a re-poll would be ordered, wherever necessary.
The assurance came against the backdrop of opposition Samajwadi Party and RLD complaining of snags in the EVMs. Significantly, even BJP leaders complained of instances of malfunctioning of VVPAT machines.
UP BJP chief Mahendra Nath Pandey and other leaders submitted a memorandum to CEO demanding repolling in those polling booths in Kairana and Noorpur where voting was affected, a party statement said.
"A report has been sought from the district magistrates of Shamli, Saharanpur and Bijnor about polling booths, where voting was delayed for two hours or more, and then an decision on repolling will be taken accordingly," an official said.
Deputy Chief Electoral Officer Ratnesh Singh said the polling in both the constituencies was by and large peaceful with no incident of violence reported.
Earlier in the day, SP chief Akhilesh Yadav tweeted, "Receiving reports of problems in EVMs in the bye-elections but still voters should go to cast votes." SP spokesman Rajendra Chaudhary charged that 140 EVMs were tampered with in Noorpur, while similar reports had come in from Kairana as well.
"The BJP wants to avenge its defeat in earlier bypolls in Gorakhpur and Phulpur anyhow and win these bypolls," Chaudhary claimed.
Refuting the opposition charge, government spokesperson and cabinet minister Shrikant Sharma said, "Government has asked the EC to ensure free, fair and peaceful elections. The opposition's allegations are baseless, and sensing their defeat they have started indulging in gimmicks and talking things which are untrue. As far as EVMs are concerned, I am also getting complaints, and the EC will look into it."
The Kairana Lok Sabha bypoll is significant as it would test the popularity of the ruling BJP in the electorally crucial state of Uttar Pradesh an year ahead of the next general elections.
The bypoll was necessitated by the death of BJP MP Hukum Singh in February.
His daughter Mriganka Singh is the BJP candidate, pitted against Rashtriya Lok Dal's Tabassum Hasan (former BSP MP from Kairana in 2009) who is also supported by the Congress, the Samajwadi Party and also claims the support of the Bahujan Samaj Party.
Kairana parliamentary constituency has five assembly segments -- Shamli, Thana Bhawan and Kairana in Shamli district, and Gangoh and Nakur in Saharanpur district.
Similarly, the bye-election to Noorpur Assembly seat was necessitated by the death of sitting BJP MLA Lokendra Singh Chauhan in a road accident in February.
In Noorpur, the BJP has fielded Avani Singh, wife of deceased MLA Lokendra Chauhan, as its candidate, while the SP has given ticket to Naeemul Hasan.
According to the Election Commission, there are 16.09 lakh voters in Kairana - 8.73 lakh male voters and 7.36 lakh female voters. Noorpur Assembly constituency has 3.06 lakh voters.
In Kairana, there are 12 candidates in the fray, while in Noorpur there are 10 candidates in the field. Counting of votes in both the seats will take place on May 31.
(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)