Punjab Assembly elections 2017: Repolling begins in 48 polling stations

By: | Updated: February 9, 2017 8:49 AM

Repolling in 48 polling stations in Amritsar, Moga, Muktsar, Mansa and Sangrur districts began this morning.

Repolling begins in Sangrur. (ANI Image)Repolling begins in Sangrur. (ANI Image)

Repolling in 48 polling stations in Amritsar, Moga, Muktsar, Mansa and Sangrur districts began this morning. Repolling at polling stations under Amritsar Lok Sabha constituency and Assembly segments was ordered by the Election Commission following malfunctioning of Voter-Verified Audit Paper Trail and Electronic Voting Machines in these stations during polling on February 4, according to reports.

It has been learned that Punjab government had declared a paid holiday in Amritsar, Moga, Muktsar, Mansa and Sangrur districts to enable people working in factories, shops and commercial establishments in the five districts to exercise their franchise “In the wake of the repoll in some booths of five districts in the state tomorrow, the Punjab government has declared a holiday in Amritsar, Moga, Muktsar, Mansa and Sangrur districts on February 9,” a state government spokesperson said in a release.

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All offices, boards, corporations, educational institutes and public undertakings of the state government in these five districts will remain closed on Thursday. This holiday has been declared under section 25 of Negotiable Instrument Act, 1881, the spokesperson said.

Voting began from 8 AM and all the voters queued up till 5 PM at the polling stations can cast their votes.

The Election Commission had ordered repolling at 48 polling stations, including a seat from which SAD leader Bikram Singh Majithia is contesting, following malfunctioning in VVPATs and EVMs during February 4 elections. The repolling has been ordered at 12 polling stations of Majitha Assembly seat, nine each of Muktsar and Sangrur, one each of Moga and Sardulgarh and 16 polling stations of Amritsar Parliamentary constituency, official had said.

“The repolling will take place at 48 polling stations because of the malfunctioning that occurred in some VVPATs and EVMs on the polling day. The repolling will take place on February 9,” Punjab Chief Electoral Officer V K Singh had said.

Punjab CEO had said necessary arrangements have been made and election material, EVMs, security and poll staff in adequate numbers have been deputed for this task. “The central paramilitary force will be deployed at each polling station and no outsider will be allowed to stay,” he said.

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Despite facing problems in VVPAT, the Election Commission had maintained they will be used during the repoll. “VVPATs will be used during the repoll. A total of 47 VVPATs will be deployed at the polling stations and sufficient numbers of machines have been kept as reserve,” he said.

Problem in VVPAT was witnessed in Majithia, Muktsar and Sangrur assembly segments while EVMs were found faulty in Moga and Sardulgarh segments. No VVPAT was used in Sardulgarh segment, said CEO.

EC had used VVPAT for the first time in Punjab at 6,668 polling stations in 33 Assembly segments and two segments in Amritsar Lok Sabha seat. During the mock polls, 538 VVPATs were replaced while during polling 187 VVPATs were replaced.

Polling was affected at 25 polling stations in Majitha and ten each in Sangrur and Muktsar because of VVPAT malfunctioning.

VVPAT generates a receipt and allows people to verify the vote went in favour of the candidate against whose name the button was pressed on the electronic voting machine. In one polling station each of Moga and Sardulgarh segments, EVMs had displayed the votes cast during mock polls despite the polling beginning at 8 AM.

CEO said the officials at polling station in Moga and Sardulgrah where problems in EVM surfaced, maintained that they had pressed the ‘clear’ button to clear the votes polled during mock polls.

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