The Buldhana district collectorate has admitted that one of the electronic voting machines (EVM) that was used in the local body polls held in February this year was malfunctioning. An independent candidate Asha Arun Zore, who contested the zilla parishad elections, had raised objection in this regard after it was found that the votes were getting registered in favour of BJP despite pressing the button indicating her symbol. After technical investigation of the machine, the district collectorate officials in their report sent to the state government admitted that voters were pressing a button but the vote was getting registered in favour of BJP.
“When a voter pressed a symbol of coconut, allotted to Zore, the LED lamp of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s symbol Lotus used to flash. This was reported to the District Collector by the Returning Officer (RO) in his inquiry report and furnished under an RTI query,” Anil Galgali, an RTI activist said. Galgali had filed an RTI query on June 16, when he came to know about Zore’s complaint on the “EVM fraud” during the February 16 elections, and demanded details of the probe report submitted by the returning officer.
“The Buldhana collectorate’s election department in a written reply stated that at polling station No 56 in Sultanpur of Lonar town, when the voter pressed the independent candidate No 1’s coconut symbol, the LED lamp flashed against the BJP candidate No 4’s Lotus symbol, signifying that the vote had gone to the latter,” Galgali said.
However, after several parties demanded a re-poll, the voting took place on February 21 for the same seat. “This case proves an EVM being vulnerable to tampering. It was brought to notice by a voter, confirmed by many other voters, the returning officer and other officials also reconfirmed it and sent a report to the Collector,” Galgali said.