New Delhi: The third phase of ongoing Lok Sabha elections saw the largest-ever deployment of electronic voting machines (EVMs) and voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) machines across 2.11 lakh polling stations spread over 13 states and 2 Union Territories, the Election Commission (EC) said on Tuesday.
Deputy Election Commissioner Sudeep Jain said that ever since their introduction, such a large number of EVMs had not be used in a single phase.
Even as snags in EVMs were reported from different polling stations like in the previous two phases on April 11 and April 18, Jain said only 0.57 per cent of ballot units and 0.58 per cent of control units of the EVM machines had to be replaced, while 2.24 per cent of total VVPATs deployed were also replaced.
"Out of total 2,81,436 ballot units deployed, 1,593 had to be replaced, while out of 2,11,158 control units, only 1,225 had to be replaced," he told the media.
He added that out of 2,11,158 VVPATs deployed, 4,725 were replaced.
"However, one should consider that it does not mean that many VVPATs malfunctioned. Protocol says that when any ballot or control unit is not functioning and has to be replaced, the corresponding VVPAT is also replaced," Jain said.
Earlier, there were reports of EVMs malfunctioning in different polling stations.
In Kerala, poll officials said that EVMs failed to function in some booths and were subsequently replaced. Many leaders, including Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, expressed their concern over the faulty voting machines.
In Wayanad, from where Congress President Rahul Gandhi is contesting, the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) candidate Thushar Vellappally demanded re-polling after glitches were found in an EVM at a polling station.
In Uttar Pradesh, Abdullah Azam Khan, son of Samajwadi Party (SP) leader Azam Khan, who is contesting from the Rampur Lok Sabha seat, alleged that over 300 EVMs were not functioning properly.
However, Additional Chief Electoral Officer Brahma Dev Ram Tiwari said that no machine in Rampur had any problem.
SP candidate from Badaun Dharmendra Yadav lodged a complaint with the EC against the malfunctioning of EVMs and accused the district administration of conspiring for his defeat.
In the Rohilkhand region of the state, glitches were reportedly found in around 60 EVMs. Twenty-seven cases were reported from Badaun, followed by Bareilly (14), Moradabad (11), Sambhal (7), Pilibhit (5) and Aonla (5).
In Karnataka and Bihar, glitches in EVMs and VVPAT machines at many polling stations delayed or held up voting in the initial hours.
In West Bengal also, glitches in EVMs were reported at a few polling stations in the Malda North seat, stalling voting for some time.
In Goa, all the EVMs at a polling station in the Cuncolim Assembly constituency in South Goa were replaced after reports of malfunctioning.
Officials in Tripura also said that voting was temporarily halted in around 100 polling stations due to the malfunctioning of either EVMs or VVPAT machines.