New Delhi [India], December 09 (ANI): After the first phase of Gujarat Assembly elections ended on Saturday, the Election Commission of India (ECI) assured that the polling concluded in a free and fair manner, and also rebuffed allegations of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) being connected with Bluetooth or Wi-Fi.
Addressing the complaint that was filed at a polling station in Porbandar about the EVM being connected to Bluetooth, Deputy Election Commissioner Sudeep Jain, who is in charge of EVM, VVPAT and other such issues termed it a false complaint, citing that EVMs do not have receptors or wiring to facilitate any connection.
"There is no EVM which can be connected to a Bluetooth. To verify this, a team was sent to check. We found that the connection which was being complained of was the Bluetooth of the mobile phone of a political party's polling agent, which had the name of 'ECO105' that was showing connection," Jain added.
Jain further assured that thorough and elaborate checking was conducted to ensure there were no faults in the voting machines.
"It starts with the first level checking of every machine that is used- every ballot unit, control unit, and VVPAT, and this was conducted by the engineers of the manufacturers, that is, BEL and ECIL in the presence of political parties' representatives at every location," Jain informed.
"The Replacement percentage was well within the average replacement percentage," Jain said and added, "All the failures which were reported and found -which has always been the case- is of either the button slot not working or display failing. Not a single case of vote being improperly recorded or improperly printed has ever been brought out."
The total number of voting machines replaced is as follows- 181 ballot units, 223 control units and 714 VVPATs.
"Voting continued in certain polling stations where voters had queued up at 5:00 p.m, so by the time we get final figures, the voting percentage may go a little higher and touch last election's figure," he said, and informed that voter turnout in the last elections in 2012 was 70.7 percent.
Sinha also shared the voter turnout of various constituencies- 63 percent in Kutch, 65 percent in Surendranagar, 75 percent in Morbi, 70 percent in Rajkot, 65 percent in Jamnagar, 60 percent in Porbandar, 62 percent in Bhavnagar, 71 percent in Bharuch, and 70 percent in Surat, among others.
Total cash seized was Rs 1.62 crore, of which Rs 85.73 lakhs pertains to the first phase, 10.04 lakh litres of liquor worth Rs 23.47 crore was seized, of which 4.98 lakh litres worth Rs 9.26 crore pertains to the first phase, 35 kg of drugs and narcotics worth Rs 3.5 lakh were seized, and precious metal worth Rs 7.33 crore pertaining to the first phase was seized.
As of now, total seizure across Gujarat stands at Rs 33.25 crores, informed Sharma.
In the first phase, a total of 977 candidates are in the fray, of which 919 are male candidates, and 58 are female candidates.
Out of the 977 candidates, BSP's 68, BJP's 89, CPI's 1, INC 87, National Congress Party 30, CPI(M) 2 and 262 candidates from registered and unrecognised political parties and 442 independent candidates are contesting in the first phase. (ANI)