Over 43 pc polling till 4 pm in Kairana amid complaints of EVM malfunctioning

Over 43 per cent polling was recorded till 4 pm today in the Kairana Lok Sabha constituency while 47 per cent votes were polled in the Noorpur Assembly constituency, where bypolls are underway, amid complaints of EVMs malfunctioning.

According to the Election Commission, till 4 pm, Kairana recorded over 43 per cent turnout, while it was 47 per cent in Noorpur.

Amid complaints of EVM malfunctioning, the EC assured that faulty machines were being changed and a re-poll would be ordered, wherever necessary.

The assurance came against the backdrop of opposition Samajwadi Party and RLD complaining of snags in the electronic voting machines.

“Receiving reports of problems in EVMs in the bye-elections but still voters should go to cast votes,” SP chief Akhilesh Yadav tweeted.

SP spokesman Rajendra Chaudhary charged that 140 EVMs were tampered with in Noorpur while similar reports had come in from Kairana as well.

“The BJP wants to avenge its defeat in earlier bypolls in Gorakhpur and Phulpur anyhow and win these bypolls,” Chaudhary claimed.

RLD spokesman Anil Dubey said there were reports of EVM malfunctioning in both the constituencies, especially in areas of RLD-SP influence.

“We (RLD and SP) are going to meet the CEO to lodge a formal complaint in this regard,” Dubey said.

Refuting the opposition charge, government spokesperson and cabinet minister Shrikant Sharma said, “Government has asked the EC to ensure free, fair and peaceful elections. The opposition’s allegations are baseless, and sensing their defeat they have started playing gimmicks and talking things which are untrue. As far as EVMs are concerned, I am also getting complaints, and the EC will look into it.”

UP Chief Electoral Officer, L Venkateswarlu said faulty EVMs were being replaced.

“I want to assure political parties that faulty EVMs are being replaced and in case, they cannot be replaced due to shortage, the EC will not hesitate to order repoll,” the CEO told reporters here.

The Kairana bypoll is significant as it would test the popularity of the ruling BJP in the electorally crucial state of Uttar Pradesh. The bypoll was necessitated by the death of BJP MP Hukum Singh in February.

His daughter Mriganka Singh is the BJP candidate, pitted against Rashtriya Lok Dal’s Tabassum Hasan (former BSP MP from Kairana in 2009) who is also supported by the Congress, the Samajwadi Party and also claims the support of the Bahujan Samaj Party.

Kairana parliamentary constituency has five assembly segments — Shamli, Thana Bhawan and Kairana in Shamli district, and Gangoh and Nakur in Saharanpur district.

Similarly, the by-election to Noorpur Assembly seat was necessitated by the death of sitting BJP MLA Lokendra Singh Chauhan in a road accident in February.

In Noorpur, the BJP has fielded Avani Singh, wife of deceased MLA Lokendra Chauhan, as its candidate, while the SP has given ticket to Naeemul Hasan.

According to the Election Commission, there are 16.09 lakh voters in Kairana – 8.73 lakh male voters and 7.36 lakh female voters. Noorpur Assembly constituency has 3.06 lakh voters.

In Kairana, there are 12 candidates in the fray, while in Noorpur there are 10 candidates in the field. Counting of votes in both the seats will take place on May 31.

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