With 91 constituencies polling on Thursday, a total of 15 electronic voting machines (EVMs) were damaged due to vandalism in the first phase of the Lok Sabha election, the Election Commission said. The poll panel also said that action will be taken against those who damaged the EVMs under various sections of the Indian Penal Code.
There were reports of six EVM damage from Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh reported five matters, one each were from West Bengal and Bihar and two from Manipur. Senior Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha said action would be taken for damaging electoral material and various sections of the Indian Penal Code.
While EC said that such damages on a single day were “not unprecedented", the development is important because one such case involved a candidate, Madhusudan Gupta of the Jana Sena Party, who was arrested for smashing an EVM in Guntakal. Gupta was arrested after he damaged the electronic voting machine at a polling booth in Andhra Pradesh’s Anantapur on Thursday. Gupta smashed the EVM at a polling booth in Annatpur’s Gooty area. “It is totally bogus,” Gupta was heard telling media persons after he damaged the EVM. Reports says that he was angry that candidates’ names weren't displayed properly. The leader of superstar Pawan Kalyan’s Party, Gupta was taken into police custody soon after the incident. The party has so far not issued any statement over the bizarre case.
Sources in Lower Siang HQ Likabali in Arunachal Pardesh said that the EVM machine at the Sogum polling station in the district was damaged with a hammer and other means by members of the BJP.
As per reports, there were also complaints by some voters about their names missing in the electoral rolls. When asked to respond to it, Kumar said the poll watchdog was running a number of programmes to verify electoral lists. As of Thursday, authorities had seized ₹607.32 crore in cash, liquor worth ₹198.71 crore, and drugs and narcotics worth₹1,091.67 crore.
Earlier, the Election Commission announced that the assembly elections in four states – Andhra Pradesh, Sikkim, Odisha and Arunachal Pradesh – will be held simultaneously with the Lok Sabha polls. Assembly polls in Jammu and Kashmir will not be held along with the general elections.