Muzaffarpur: Opposition parties have raised questions about the security of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) following an EVM was recovered from a hotel amid the Lok Sabha elections in Bihar. It happened in the Muzaffarpur district, where the voting was held on 6 May in the fifth phase.
On Monday, several EVMs and VVPAT machines were recovered from a hotel in Muzaffarpur. District collector Alok Ranjan Ghosh said that some reserve machines were given to the section officer, which is a normal practice as a contingency plan where they could be used as replacements if any machine gets damaged during the polling. After changing the EVM, the officer had two ballot units, one control unit and two VVPat machines.
DM Alok Ranjan Ghosh said, “The sector officer should not have kept the EVM and VVPAT in the hotel. It is against the rules. Since they have violated the rules, a departmental inquiry will be conducted against them.”
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court has dismissed the review petition filed by 21 opposition leaders for increasing the number of VVPAT votes in EVMs to 50% of the polling booths.
57.86% voting in Bihar
In the fifth phase, 57.86% of citizens voted in Bihar. Simultaneously, the political fate of 86 giants including those of former Union minister Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Pashupati Kumar Paras, Shakeel Ahmed was sealed in the EVM.
In the fifth phase, 8,899 polling stations were set up for more than 87.66 lakh voters in Hajipur, Saran, Muzaffarpur, Madhubani and Sitamarhi Lok Sabha constituencies. Chief electoral officer of State election department HR Srinivas told that polling started from 7 o’clock in the morning and it went on peacefully till 6 PM. Along with this, 24 out of the 40 Lok Sabha constitution in Bihar have voted.
Muzaffarpur highest voting
Muzaffarpur recorded the highest turnout of 61.30% while the lowest was 55.50% in the Madhubani Lok Sabha constituency. In Sitamarhi, the turnout was 56.90%; in Saran, it was 58% and Hajipur 57.72%.
Srinivas said that, in the beginning, some EVMs had been reported for malfunctioning in some polling booths, which were immediately fixed and voting resumed. There was no information about any major event except for some sporadic incidents of violence. As many as 29 people were arrested for obstructing the polling process.
EVM smashed in Saran
In the Saran Lok Sabha constituency, a voter broke down an electronic voting machine at polling station No. 131 of the Sonpur Assembly constituency. The accused was arrested.
In this phase of elections, the main fight between Hajipur is between State president of Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) Pashupati Kumar Paras and Shiv Chandra Ram of Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), while Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader and former Union minister in Saran Rajeev Pratap Rudy and RJD’s Chandrika Roy are faces to face.
War of Titans
In Muzaffarpur, BJP candidate Ajay Nishad faces opposition alliance’s Raj Bhushan Chaudhary of the Vikassheel Insaan Party (VIP). The battle of the Madhubani Lok Sabha constituency involves BJP’s Ashok Yadav and Badri Purv of VIP; former MP Shakeel Ahmed is contesting as an independent candidate.
On the side of the NDA in Sitamarhi, JD(U)’s Sunil Kumar Pintoo and RJD’s Arjun Rai face each other. The security arrangements were tightened for the fairness of this phase of the election. Paramilitary forces and Bihar military forces were deployed at all polling stations.
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