A malfunctioning EVM had compelled the State Election Commission (SEC) to hold fresh elections at a centre in Sultanpur during the February 2017 polls to the Buldhana zilla parishad, contradicting the claims of the Election Commission (EC).
Data obtained under the RTI Act by activist Anil Galgali revealed that officials deputed to the polling centre number 57/6 were informed around 10 a.m. that a voter had a complaint.
The report filed to the Collector and in turn to the SEC on February 16, said, “The voter informed the officials that despite having pressed the first voting option (button number 1), the corresponding LED light, instead of flashing against the ‘coconut’ (symbol of independent candidate Ashatai Arun Zore), lit up for the BJP candidate listed at number 4 on the machine.”
While poll officials dismissed the complaint, the second identical complaint was registered at around 1.30 p.m.
“The EC had recently thrown a challenge to hack the EVM. But the Buldhana incident showed how voting for their choice of ‘coconut’ resulted in the BJP’s lotus coming into bloom,” said Mr. Galgali.
The report, filed by Manikrao Bazad and Ramnarayan Sawant (the officials who verified the complaint before sealing the EVM), said, “With consent of poll officials, the party, and the candidate representatives, the electoral officer was apprised of the matter.” Polling officials assuaged Ms. Zore, who alleged that three voters had complained to her about the identical glitch causing her voters to be diverted to other candidates.
According to the report, based on which the SEC nullified the voting and rescheduled it for February 21, 2017, “The voters listed between 324 and 332 were observed and the EVM performed perfectly, with none of them complaining of any vote diversion against their choice. But when the voter listed at 333 exercised their franchise for the ‘coconut’, once again the LED of the lotus lit up.”