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Bhandara-Gondiya LS Bypoll: EC Orders Re-Polling At 49 Booths

However, no re-polling has been ordered in the Palghar (ST) Lok Sabha constituency.

Mumbai, May 29

The Election Commission (EC) today ordered re-polling at 49 booths in five of the six assembly segments in the Bhandara-Gondiya Lok Sabha constituency tomorrow, after alleged malfunctioning of EVMs and VVPATs were reported.

Polling in the Lok Sabha by-elections for Palghar and Bhandara-Gondiya seats in Maharashtra was yesterday marred by instances of malfunctioning of electronic voting machines (EVMs) and voter-verifiable paper audit trails (VVPATs).

However, no re-polling has been ordered in the Palghar (ST) Lok Sabha constituency.

In a release issued today, the EC ordered transfer of Gondiya district collector and election returning officer (ERO) Abhimanyu Kale.

Nagpur Zilla Parishad Chief Executive Officer Kadambari Bhagat-Balkavde has been directed to take over the charge of ERO from Kale and conduct the by-poll process.

“After taking all material circumstances into account, the Election Commission of India, hereby, declares under Sub-section (2) of Section 58 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, that the poll taken on May 28, 2018, at polling stations mentioned against the assembly constituency as per details to be void and appoints May 30 as the date for taking a fresh poll at the said polling stations,” the ECI stated.

The re-polling will be held between 7 AM and 6 PM.

The polling time for the Arjuni Morgaon (SC) assembly segment will be between 7 AM and 3 PM, it said.

Barring Arjuni-Morgaon (SC) where polling will be held in just two polling booths between 7 am and 3 pm, the fresh polling will be held in four assembly segments between 7 am and 6 pm, the poll panel said.

As per the EC order, the ring finger of the left hand of voters will be used for marking “indelible ink”.

The commission has also directed the returning officer and poll machinery officials to give widespread publicity on the re-polling by beating of drums in areas where the polling is being held.

While 53.22 per cent polling was recorded in Palghar (ST) seat, Bhandara-Gondiya constituency had recorded 53.15 per cent polling.

Except Tumsar assembly segment in Gondiya-Bhandara, EVM malfunctioning was reported in Bhandara (SC), Sakoli, Arjuni-Morgaon (SC), Tirora and Gondiya segments.

Re-polling has been ordered in 14 polling booths in Bhandara (SC) segment, 4 in Sakoli, 2 in Arjuni-Morgaon (SC), 8 in Tirora and 21 in Gondiya.

In Bhandara-Gondiya, the BJP and the NCP were the main rivals in the bypoll, held after the resignation of BJP MP Nana Patole.

Patole, a leader of the powerful OBC Kunbi community, had switched sides from the Congress to the BJP and was elected as an MP from the constituency, located in Vidarbha region, in 2014 by defeating Praful Patel.

The NCP, which allied with the Congress for the bypoll, fielded ex-BJP MLA Madhukar Kukde against BJP’s Hemant Patle, a former legislator who belongs to the Powar community.

In Palghar, the bypoll was necessitated following the death of sitting BJP MP Chintaman Wanaga. The bickering BJP ally Shiv Sena has fielded the late MP’s son Srinivas in a bid to garner sympathy vote.

The counting of votes will be taken up on May 31 along with Palghar (ST) constituency.

Maharashtra Congress president Ashok Chavan said senior leaders of the party met today to discuss the malfunctioning of EVMs and VVPAT machines.

“The chief minister (Devendra Fadnavis) has clearly used all possible means to win the elections that caused malfunction of EVMs. We will go to Delhi and meet officials of the EC,” Chavan said.

He demanded that upcoming polls be held through paper ballot.

“Why re-poll is not ordered in Palghar seat? Why separate yardsticks for Palghar and Bhandara?” he asked.

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