As of 2 pm on Saturday, Gujarat recorded 40.47 percent voting as in the first phase of the state Assembly election amid reports of Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) and VVPAT glitches.
Earlier on Saturday, there were reports of technical glitches in EVMs in some of the polling booths in Surat and other areas.
The Election Commission said it received several complaints against malfunctioning EVMs and VVPATs.
The poll panel received several complaints of EVM malfunctioning in Kosamba region of Valsad district as well. An EVM was also tampered with in Rajkot East constituency, a complaint to the EC said.
A Congress candidate from Pardi also filed a complaint with the EC for a Voter Verification Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) not showing the paper slip while voting. The polling process was resumed after the EVMs were replaced, an EC official told PTI.
In Kamrej constituency of the Surat region, there were complaints of seven to eight EVMs malfunctioning since Saturday morning. People were seen complaining as they were not able to cast their votes despite standing in queues since morning.
Speaking to Firstpost, Khalid Badshah, a businessman from Surat expressed concerns over EVM tampering. "Despite talks of technology and Digital India from the prime minister and the government, problems with EVMs keep cropping up. It happened in Uttar Pradesh polls as well. The government hasn't taken any steps to resolve the issue. The public is quite disappointed in the present circumstances," Badshah said.
He also said that even developed countries often use the balloting system in spite of being technologically advanced.
"BJP's Subramaniam Swamy also raised this issue a while ago. The EVM system is in dire conditions at the moment while the Election Commission just looks on silently," added Badshah.
There were complaints of many EVMs malfunctioning in Mandvi constituency of Kutch as well. "Why is it that EVMs in polling booths especially dominated by Dalit communities are malfunctioning. And if they are not working those should be replaced immediately. One machine here (Mandvi) was replaced after one and a half hours. Sometime later, that too went bad," said Shaktisinh Gohil, who is contesting from Mandvi.
"I suspect a conspiracy against the Dalit voters by BJP, which has never supported the Dalit community. But we are confident that despite this, Congress will snatch all the six constituencies this time," Gohil added.
"We are inquiring into complaints of EVMs being connected to Bluetooth or WiFi made from Porbandar," said Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Gujarat, BB Swain.
Senior Congress leader Arjun Modhwadia had complained that three EVMs were seen connected to Bluetooth devices and he sent the complaint to the ECI along with screenshots backing his complaint.
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah on Saturday asked the EC to address the queries being raised on the trustworthiness of the electronic voting machines (EVMs).
"I've been extremely sceptical of EVM-related conspiracy theories but I'm beginning to question my unwavering faith in the machines and their infallibility," Abdullah wrote in a Twitter post.
I’ve been extremely sceptical of EVM related conspiracy theories but I’m being to question my unwavering faith in the machines & their infallibility.
— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) December 9, 2017
A total of 977 candidates are in the fray from Kutch, Morbi, Jamnagar, Surendranagar, Devbhoomi Dwarka, Rajkot, Botad, Porbandar, Junagadh, Amreli, Gir Somnath, Bhavnagar, Bharuch, Narmada, Surat, Tapi, Navsari, Dang and Valsad districts.
Polling, which began at 8 am, will end at 5 pm.
The second phase polling is on 14 December and counting, along with that of Himachal Pradesh, will be held on 18 December.
With inputs from Pallavi Rebbapragada and agencies
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Updated Date: Dec 09, 2017 15:13:44 IST