70% Voter Turnout in Punjab, AAP Complains of Faulty EVMs
As voters in Punjab head to polls on Saturday, reports of electronic voting machines (EVMs) malfunctioning have started pouring in from different parts of the state.
People showing their voter ID cards as they stand in a queue to cast their votes at a polling station in a village, about 25 km from Amritsar, on Feb 4, 2017. (PTI Photo)
New Delhi: As voters in Punjab came out to make their choice clear on Saturday, reports of electronic voting machines (EVMs) malfunctioning started pouring in from different parts of the state.
In many constituencies like Majitha and Malout, voters complained of malfunctioning EVMs leading to a delay in the voting process.
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), which had started a social media campaign called “AAP spy army” aimed at monitoring the election process, said that it had set up a helpline for both Punjab and Goa and in Punjab alone, they had received over 400 complaints of the EVMs malfunctioning.
Manpreet Randhawa, the AAP media convener for Punjab and Chandigarh, told News 18, “By 4 pm, we had received over 406 complaints from supporters all over the state of EVMs malfunctioning. It had led to a massive delay in the electoral process. One of the regions with the highest number of complaints is Malout. Even in Majitha, we have received complaints. While we are still expecting to receive more such complaints, we have forwarded all the complaints we have received so far to the Election Commission of India. We hope that some action will be taken as polling enters the final few hours.”
In Majitha, the constituency of Punjab cabinet minister Bikram Singh Majitjhia, there were reports of malfunctioning EVMs in at least 50 polling booths. AAP leader Sanjay Singh on Saturday tweeted, “In Majitha, machines at 50 polling booths are not functioning. The EC is not acting despite repeated complaints. Cops are stopping people from voting.”
Other areas where reports of EVM malfunction came from include Lehra, Malout and Sangrur. Delhi chief minister and party convenor Arvind Kejriwal also lashed out at the EC in a tweet, “EC has completely surrendered before Modiji, just like CBI n RBI.”
At 5 pm, voter turnout in Punjab was 70%. Of the three regions in Punjab, Malwa recorded the highest voter turnout at 82.7% while the border region of Majha had the lowest at 66%. The Doaba region had a turnout of 68.2%. Of Punjab’s 22 districts, the highest voter turnout was in Fazilka district, which houses the seat of Jalalabad where Deputy CM Sukhbir Singh Badal is locked in an intense battle with AAP leader Bhagwant Mann and Congress’s Ravneet Singh Bittu.
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