New Delhi: Re-polling will take place on Wednesday in 73 polling stations in Uttar Pradesh's Kairana and 49 polling stations in Bhandara Gondia in Maharashtra, the Election Commission has said, after widespread failure of the machines in Monday's by-elections.
- 10 per cent of 10,300 VVPAT had developed faults on Monday
- Election Commission says extreme heat could be responsible
- Kairana Lok Sabha bypoll is testing grounds for opposition unity
Nearly 10 per cent of the 10,300 VVPAT, or Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail machines, used in Monday's by-elections across 10 states had developed faults and had to be replaced.
The proportion of VVPAT machines that had to be replaced, however, was as high as 20 per cent in the high-stakes by-elections to the Lok Sabha seats in Kairana and Bhandara Gondia.
Chief Election Commissioner OP Rawat insists that there was no problem in the electronic voting machines on Monday. "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.
The commission had, on Monday, said placing the VVPAT machines under direct light, mishandling and extreme heat could have been responsible for the high failure rate.
"If VVPATs are kept directly under light it creates a problem," Mr Rawat added.
To the opposition's demands of ditching EVMs and going back to ballot papers, Mr Rawat said that would not be possible. "2019 Parliament elections will be held with VVPATs and three won't be any problems," he said.
The Kairana Lok Sabha bypoll is significant as it is seen as testing grounds for opposition unity against the state's ruling BJP.
In Kairana, the Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD), whose candidate Tabassum Hasan is backed by various opposition parties, complained to the Election Commission that Electronic Voting Machines (EVMS) and VVPAT or Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail - which eject slips to confirm to voters that their choices have been recorded correctly - had malfunctioned in 175 booths.
According to the Election Commission, there are 16.09 lakh voters in Kairana and 54 per cent had turned out to vote on Monday.