Bypolls Generate Heat Over EVMs, VVPATs

Opposition parties and BJP demanded repolling claiming hundreds of EVMs and paper trail machines deployed in Kairana, Bhandara-Gondia and Palghar Lok Sabha and Noorpur assembly bypolls developed snags and were not replaced for hours. The Election Commission blamed improper handling of VVPAT machines by officials and excess heat but said there were enough spare machines to replace the malfunctioning ones.

The EC’s technical expert committee had red flagged the VVPAT failures in recent elections and had informed EC of the problem even before Monday’s bypolls, where VVPAT failures were seen in constituencies that went to polls in scorching heat. An official said those who skipped training programmes and “spent time on their phones during training sessions” placed the machines at places where ‘heat sensitive’ nature of the device created problems. Earlier in the day, EC termed as “exaggerated projection of reality” reports of “large scale” failure of EVMs.

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