Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu on Thursday expressed his unhappiness over Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) not functioning at several polling booths in the state. He wrote to the Chief Election Commissioner saying that EVMs were not working in 30% of the polling stations, and that repolls should be conducted in places where voting had not begun till 9.30 am on Thursday.
N Chandrababu Naidu in letter to CEC: Likely that many voters who returned may not come back for voting even if polling is resumed after replacement / repair of existing EVMs.Therefore repolling needed in all polling stations where polling had not commenced upto 9.30am (file pic) pic.twitter.com/tfEmyIQ8YE— ANI (@ANI) April 11, 2019
“A large number of women and old people are waiting in the hot sun as the commencement of poll has been delayed, and the polling process is slow. It is likely that many of the voters who returned may not come back for voting even if the polling is resumed after replacement/repair of the existing EVMs,” Naidu wrote in the letter, demanding repolling.
Naidu also told the media that an EVM was not working where Chief Electoral Officer Gopal Krishna Dwivedi went to cast his vote.
In another complaint to the EC, Naidu also demanded that the polling time should be extended due to the initial delays caused in the commencement of voting due to faulty EVMs. Referring to several reports of EVMs not functioning at 7 am, Naidu asked for the extension.
The CM also said that at least now, the Election Commission should review its stand on EVMs. "We have for long been saying that there is scope for technical problems and manipulation in EVMs. Even technologically advanced countries are using ballot papers," the TDP chief said.He said 22 political parties in the country demanded that at least the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips be counted. He did not agree with the Election Commission that counting of all VVPAT slips will take six days.
The Supreme Court on Monday directed the EC to increase the random matching of VVPAT slips with EVMs to five polling booths per Assembly segment, from one at present. The court, however, did not agree to the demand by the parties for matching at least 50% of VVPAT slips with EVMs.
Naidu said they were planning to file a review petition for counting of at least 25% of VVPAT slips.
Responding to Naidu’s letter and demand for repolling, YSRCP MP YV Subba Reddy said that the CM was using EVMs as a scapegoat for his imminent defeat. “He is preempting his defeat. He has lost hope of winning the elections. That is why he’s trying to blame the EVM and Election Commission.”
Earlier in the day, Chandrababu Naidu and his family cast their votes in Amaravati for the General Election. The CM told media persons that he was happy to see people turning out to vote. “I am happy to see so many people come out and vote. I request the people to come out and cast their votes. It is the responsibility of people to cast their votes and if there is anyone in your family who is of voting age and is eligible to vote, I request you all to vote,” Chandrababu Naidu said.
As of 11 am, the polling percentage in Telangana was 22.8%.
Polling is underway in Andhra Pradesh for 175-member Assembly and 25 Lok Sabha seats.
(With IANS inputs)