Surat: As Gujarat poll started today, More than 70 EVMs failed in Surat. An area seen as strategically crucial in this election because it is dominated by the Patels which is against BJP, a caste reportedly upset with the BJP which has governed the state for 22 years in a row.
The faulty Electronic Voting Machines were placed in 16 rural and urban constituencies of Surat, who has asked the influential Patidar or Patel community to reject the BJP for failing to extend affirmative action policies to them.
After that The Election Commission said the faulty machines are being replaced immediately. “There are 24,000 polling booths in Gujarat. The problem has occurred in seven or eight booths,” Chief Election Commissioner Achal Kumar Joti told NDTV. “We have a number of EVMs in reserve. Concerned officials are keeping continuous check,” he said.
The ruling BJP holds 67 of the 89 seats ging to polls today, and the Congress 16. The others are held by smaller parties and Independents. Saurashtra and Kutch have the maximum number of constituencies are seen as crucial. The party that wins the most seats in these regions will be seen to have a head start.
The repairing of machines have been a huge grouch of the opposition after the BJP’s sweeping victory in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand in the last round of assembly polls earlier this year. In the run-up to the elections in Gujarat, the Congress had made no bones about its concerns. The party, which earlier suggested placing cellphone jammers outside rooms where EVMs would be kept, has deployed a team of three lawyers and experts for every constituency. Normally it deploys one such team in Ahmedabad.
The battle for the 12 seats in Surat, the diamond and textile hub and a BJP stronghold, is being seen as a referendum on the notes ban and new national tax GST. Rahul Gandhi has urged traders to punish the BJP, alleging that its mega reforms have brought small business to their knees. Union ministers Arun Jaitley and Smriti Irani have defended the GST and demonetisation, trying to allay the concerns of the traders.