Brinda Karat slams EC after battery issue briefly halts voting at her polling booth

PTI, May 25, 2024, 1:55 PM IST

CPI(M) leader Brinda Karat on Saturday alleged she had to wait for almost an hour to cast her vote as the battery of the EVM control unit at her polling booth ”drained out”.

The Election Commission, however, said voting was halted only for 15 minutes and is now proceeding smoothly again.

Karat had gone to cast her vote at a polling booth set up at St Columba’s School in the New Delhi constituency. She said she had to wait for around 50 minutes before she could cast her ballot, expressing concerns over arrangements made by the Election Commission. ”We came to vote, they are saying that the machine’s battery is down. If the machine’s battery is down early in the morning, imagine what is the condition of the Election Commission,” Karat said.

”I have written a complaint here, how is it that in the morning at 9 am the battery of the machine is down? What are the arrangements that they have made? People are waiting here in the heat for so long,” she said. Karat later told PTI she had to wait for around 50 minutes. The machine had been down for around 20 minutes before she arrived. Responding to Karat’s allegation, the District Election Officer, New Delhi district, said in a post on X that the battery of the control unit at the polling station where she had gone to cast her vote had drained out around 10 am and it was replaced within 15 minutes. ”The battery of the control unit of polling station No 27 at St Columba’s School, Ashok Place, drained at around 10:00 am. At that time, approximately 10 voters were in queue. Battery was replaced in 15 minutes and voting resumed,” according to the post.

”Presently, voting is going smoothly. Queue in shaded area,” it added.

An Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) consists of a control unit and a ballot unit — joined by a five-metre cable. The control unit is placed with the presiding officer or a polling officer while the ballot unit is used to cast votes.

A voter turnout of 21.69 per cent was recorded till 11 am in Delhi, where polling is underway for its seven Lok Sabha constituencies.

A total of 1.52 crore voters — 82 lakh men, 69 lakh women and 1,228 from the third gender category — are eligible to cast their votes at more than 13,000 polling booths across the seven constituencies.

There are more than 2.52 lakh first-time voters this time.

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