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  India   Politics  21 May 2024  Udhav alleges ECI delayed voting process to benefit BJP

Udhav alleges ECI delayed voting process to benefit BJP

THE ASIAN AGE. | PRASAD PATIL
Published : May 21, 2024, 12:39 am IST
Updated : May 21, 2024, 12:39 am IST

Maharashtra deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis rubbished the claim and said that Thackeray is preparing excuses for his defeat

Shiv Sena (UBT) Chief Uddhav Thackeray. (PTI)
 Shiv Sena (UBT) Chief Uddhav Thackeray. (PTI)

Mumbai: Shiv Sena (UBT) chief Uddhav Thackeray on Monday alleged that the election commission of India officials delayed the voting process during the fifth phase voting in Mumbai at the behest of the BJP. He alleged that voting was slowed on the grounds of malfunctioning of EVMs and other reasons specifically in the areas where his party has the advantage. However, Maharashtra deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis rubbished the claim and said that Thackeray is preparing excuses for his defeat.

The voter turnout in 13 Lok Sabha seats in the year was less than 50 per cent till 5pm. The ECI has clarified that everyone reaching polling booths before 6pm will be allowed to vote. They expect the final voting percentage to surpass 55.38 per cent voting recorded in 2019.

Accusing the ECI of being biased, Thackeray said that the BJP is using the poll body “as its doormat” because of their “inevitable defeat”.

“The BJP is fearing defeat. Wherever we have advantage, the EVMs are not properly arranged. Some EVMs did not work. This is the foul play of the BJP,” Thackeray said.

The Shiv Sena (UBT) chief alleged that the ECI used tactics to frustrate and discourage his party’s voters. “People are being deliberately harassed by the ECI officials. Where our vote share is going to be higher, the turnout is decreasing. The Election Commission is biased. Identity cards are being asked repeatedly from particular communities. I have seen that voters went to vote in huge numbers at the voting centres, but they had to return without voting due to inconvenience. Too much time was taken inside the polling booths so that people get frustrated and return without casting their votes,” he said.

Thackeray’s allegations came in the wake of complaints by several citizens who claimed their names were missing from the voter list, long queues at the polling booths, malfunctioning of EVMs etc. Thackeray alleged that the process was slowed down deliberately.

Polling was underway for 13 Lok Sabha constituencies including six in Mumbai city in the final phase of the general elections in Maharashtra.

The Shiv Sena (UBT) also alleged that some polling stations in Borivali which falls under the Mumbai North constituency witnessed long queues with people waiting for more than one hour to cast their vote. “There was a lot of enthusiasm among voters, but the ECI acted in a partial manner,” Thackeray alleged.

Congress candidate from Mumbai North Central constituency Varsha Gaikwad said, "I have received complaints from voters that they do not have enough facilities at polling booths. Long queues and exposure to the heat are testing their patience. Some people have returned home without exercising their franchise.

However, Fadnavis said  he also received complaints about the slow pace of voting, but the Maha Vikas Aghadi is blaming the BJP for it as it has sensed its defeat and is trying to find excuses. He said he has requested the ECI to look into complaints of slow pace of voting in Mumbai. “There have been several complaints of the overall polling pace being very slow. We were the first to complain to the commission about the slow pace of voting in Mumbai. But now, as usual, Uddhav Thackeray has started playing the victim card. As usual, they have started accusing Modi as their defeat is clear. They are now laying the groundwork to deal with the post-June 4 situation,” he said.

The chief electoral officer of Maharashtra, S. Chockalingam, said that every voter who comes to the polling booth will be allowed to cast their vote. “Due to overwhelming response in the morning hours, queues were seen at some polling booths. Special efforts, including deploying additional manpower from reserved pools, were taken to expedite the polling process. Senior officers visited booths which had long queues to streamline the process. By afternoon, queues were smaller. Whoever comes in the queue before 6 pm will be allowed to vote,” he said.

The ECI official said that a token was provided to everyone standing in the voters queue at 6pm and the voting will continue till every person holding the coupon votes.

 

Tags: uddhav thackeray
Location: India, Maharashtra