EVM Glitches Mar 2nd Phase; Re-poll in Various Centres

Malappuram / Thrissur/ Thiruvananthapuram:  The second phase of the local body polls in Kerala which took place on Thursday was marred by the malfunctioning of the electronic voting machines (EVMs) in two districts. Heavy downpour added to the hassles in different spots.

The malfunctioning of EVMS has been reported in Malappuram and Thrissur. Though the authorities have put the blame on technical and usage issues, there are many who think the malfunctioning to be a result of sabotage attempts.

EVMS were found to be tampered with in many places. While some of them had cellotape between the keys, others had glue poured over them.

In a decision that came later in the day, a repoll has been ordered in 27 booths in Malappuram district and four in Thrissur.

The glitch, in fact, affected polling in 270 polling centres in the two districts. The district administration in these districts said that the malfunctioning was not part of any sabotage bid. The technical hassles ended up making voters wait for hours together before they were able to cast their votes.

In Malappuram, an Indian Union Muslim League bastion, the party has demanded a thorough probe into the malfunctioning incidents. Earlier in the day, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy proposed re-polling in places where there was more than three hours delay in polling due to the glitches, Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala stated that a probe would be ordered into the incidents if the State Election Commission wants it that way.

CPI(M) State Secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan also expressed concern over the malfunctioning episode. He demanded a probe into the incidents. Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee president V.M. Sudheeran also joined the leaders who expressed concern over the malfunctioning of voting machines.