Villagers in Satara claim foul play, say all votes went to Udayanraje Bhosale

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Maharashtra assembly elections got over on October 21, but complains about Electronic Voting Machine's (EVM) malfunctioning are still continuing to pour in. 

Pune: Maharashtra assembly elections got over on October 21, but complains about Electronic Voting Machine's (EVM) malfunctioning are still continuing to pour in. Many voters in a Maharashtra village have alleged EVM malfunction during Lok Sabha bypoll for Satara constituency — also conducted alongside on Monday — claiming that it resulted in votes cast for any candidate going to BJP candidates's account. According to a report by PTI, Election officials have denied this allegation. Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) legislator Shahshikant Shinde said he witnessed this happening when he visited the polling booth in Navlewadi village of Koregaon tehsil in Satara district. 

The Election Commission should take a serious note of this incident and initiate steps to check its recurrence, Shinde said. Kirti Nalawade, the returning officer for the Koregaon Assembly segment in Western Maharashtra squashed this claim. Many villagers claimed that votes cast in favour of the NCP candidate Srinivas Patil were going to BJP candidate Udayanraje Bhosale.Shinde said when he raised the issue with the election officials at the polling station, they changed the EVM machine. 

Suspicious voting Bypoll for Satara Lok Sabha constituency was held simultaneously with the Assembly poll on October 21. "I received a call from some voters and our party workers who informed me that votes cast for the NCP candidate were going to BJP. When I reached there, around 270 votes were cast in this way," Shinde said. Shinde added that since some voters had expressed their doubts, the NCP polling booth agents asked the officials to verify the claims. "Meanwhile, one person came there to cast his vote. Before he could press the button, the red light next to the BJP's Lotus symbol blinked. 

This particular voter also noticed this and objected, consequently the election officials present there verbally accepted that there seemed to be some problem with the machine," Shinde said. He said the election officials informed the party agents and voters to pay 'fee' for a mock test to clear their doubts. "I suggested that a voter will cast his vote in the presence of the main poll official there to verify the claims. When one person went to vote, the machine suddenly developed some issue and stopped working," he said. "Some officials then checked the machine and informed us that there was some issue with the machine and proposed to replace it. 

The machine was then replaced," he said. Nalawade said that after voters raised the issue, they were asked to fill up a form for a mock test but they were not ready for it. "We replaced the machine not because of their claims but because there was some issue with the pressing of the button. The replacement has nothing to do with these claims," the poll official said. 

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