Voting underway in UP bypolls amid EVM snags and scuffles (Third Lead)

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Lucknow, May 28 (IANS) Amid complaints of dysfunctional electronic voting machines (EVMs) and scuffle, 41.3 per cent polling was recorded in the Kairana parliamentary bypolls and 45 per cent in the Noorpur assembly bypolls till 3 p.m on Monday, officials said.

After a slow start, voting picked up as the day progressed.

The maximum polling in Kairana was recorded in the Thana Bhawan assembly constituency where 24 per cent voters had cast their votes, followed by Kairana (23), Nakud (21) and Gangoh (19.8).

There were reports of firing in Bhura village and skirmishes between supporters of the opposition-supported Rashtriya Lok Dal (RLD) candidate Tabassum Hasan and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s Mriganka Singh, daughter of late Hukum Singh, whose death necessitated the bypoll.

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Heavy security deployment has been made at all sensitive booths and District Magistrate Indra Vikram Singh and police chief Devranjan Verma have been personally monitoring the situation and progress of polling by visiting many booths themselves, said a poll panel official.

Speaking to media persons after casting her vote, BJP candidate Singh expressed confidence of her victory, while UP minister Suresh Rana said that good governance and development would win against “communal and divisive forces”.

Hasan, after casting her vote at the Jain Dharamshala, however said that EVMs were being tampered with at many places by the ruling BJP.

Both the RLD and the BJP have filed complaints alleging that over 100 voting machines were malfunctioning.

In a letter accessed by IANS, the BJP told the Election Commission that a large number of EVMs were out of order forcing hundreds of voters to wait outside polling booths in the scorching heat.

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It also put the reason for the sluggish pace of voting on the EVM malfunctions and said that booth officers have refused to accept their complaints.

Singh is counting on the sympathy wave in the name of her father and the Yogi Adityanath government, while Hasan is pinning her hopes on the opposition unity as the Samajwadi Party, the Bahujan Samaj Party, the Nishad Party, the Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party have extended their support to her.

Kairana’s electorate comprises 16,09,628 voters – 8,73,120 men, 7,36,431 women and 77 of the third gender.

Polling was also underway in Noorpur assembly poll, where BJP’s Avni Singh is pitted against Naimul Hasan of the SP. Here, EVM snags were reported from 50 polling stations.

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Noorpur’s electorate comprises 3,06,226 men, 1,41,924 women and 10 from the third gender.

According to the Election Commission, there are 2,056 polling booths and 1,094 polling centres for the bypolls, and to ensure free, fair and peaceful elections, it has deputed three general observers and two expenditure observers, besides 53 companies of the para-military forces and 10 companies of the Provincial Armed Constabulary.

All the 2,651 EVMs being used in the two bypolls have VVPAT machines to enable the voter to see for whom he or she has voted, the official told IANS.

–IANS

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