The malfunctioning of electronic voting machines (EVMs) during elections is not something new to us. We have already come across incidents of faulty EVMs where the machines behave weirdly like shifting all votes to one party or not working at all. While the 6th phase of elections in India is under way, reports of such malfunctioning of EVMs are pouring in from some parts of Maharashtra where 19 constituencies are going to polls today.
Mumbai saw a slow paced voter turnout in morning according to a DNA report, where various big politicians and celebrities were seen voting and urging people also to come out and exercise their franchise. But it seems that people are not that excited to vote given the rising temperature in Mumbai the last few days. What is adding to the low percentage is the malfunctioning of voting machines at some polling booths like Little Star School in Ghatkopar West.
According to DNA, people were waiting for their turn in the morning phase but when their turn came, voting machines played a foul resulting in disappointment among the people. Akurli Road School in Kandivali East faced the same issue. Voting in this ward was delayed by 40 minutes and started at 7:40 am instead of the usual 7:00 am mark. The slip issuing center at Airport Colony, Vile Parle, was also out of order since the morning. This has certainly upset the voters who had come out to vote in the early hours to save themselves from the sweltering heat. While many of the voters returned back to their homes, some people were patient enough to wait until the problems in EVMs were solved.
Also the people who are handicapped faced problems in Kalanagar, Bandra East as there are no ramp facilities causing discomfort to the handicapped voters and senior citizens as well.
Other issues that the people faced were that their names were missing from the voter lists at the polling booths. More than 2,000 voters from the Sahakar Nagar area in Wadala, whose names have been deleted from the voters list, have approached the Returning Officer in the area. They claim that close to 10,000 names have been deleted from lists all over Mumbai. The names of middle and higher income group residents are missing; however the names of slum dwellers are on the list.
The early turnout was not so exciting in Mumbai. Till 9 am, there were reports of 8-9 percent voter turnout from various parts of Mumbai going to polls today. All the parties and the Election Commission had campaigned a lot to ensure that more and more people engage themselves in the voting exercise. But incidents like these have certainly added to the low turn-out in this phase of the Lok Sabha Elections.