Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan today pointed out that there are faulty electronic voting machines (EVMs) in various parts of the state as the third round of voting in the national election began. Voting was delayed in several places because the voting machines did not work.
Chief Minister Vijayan said that election officials appear to have failed to ensure that the EVMs worked properly. "I myself had to wait for a while and I was told that the EVMs are not working. I am also told that this is the case in other places also," Mr Vijayan told reporters in Kannur after he voted.
He was among the early voters and was seen standing in a queue at a polling booth in Pinarayi, his hometown, along with his family members.
Congress chief Rahul Gandhi's opponent from the NDA, Thushar Vellappally, has written to Kerala's election body chief alleging that votes are not being cast with an EVM at a polling booth in Wayanad.
Leader of opposition Ramesh Chennithala, who voted in Alappuzha, too complained of faulty voting machines.
At a booth in Pathanamthitta constituency, voting had not begun even after two hours into polling because the EVMs did not work.
"We came and stood in the queue at 6 am so that we could vote early and go. But even at 9 am, voting has not started," a voter said.
At a polling booth in the popular beach town of Kovalam, there were reports that whenever the button for the Congress candidate was pressed, the light against the BJP symbol lit up. Thiruvananthapuram District Collector K Vasuki dismissed these reports and said, "This has been checked and this is not true. After the 76th vote, the ballot box got jammed. The machine was duly replaced."
The three major fronts-- ruling CPI(M)-led LDF, opposition Congress headed UDF and the BJP-led NDA put up a fierce fight in many constituencies in Kerala.
227 candidates, including Congress chief Rahul Gandhi, Shashi Tharoor and Union Minister KJ Alphons, contesting the 20 parliamentary seats in the state.
Kerala has 2.61 crore registered voters out of which 2.44 lakh are young, first-time voters.
(With inputs from IANS and PTI)
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