Kairana by-election 2018: Over 30 per cent polling recorded till 1 pm amid complains of EVM malfunctioning

Over 30 per cent polling was recorded till 1 pm in Kairana parliamentary constituency while 33 per cent votes were polled in Noorpur Assembly constituency today amid reports of EVMs malfunctioning. The EC has given an assurance that faulty EVMs are being changed and repoll will be ordered, where ever necessary. According to the Election Commission, till 1 pm, Kairana recorded 30.61 per cent polling, while the polling percentage in Noorpur Assembly constituency was 33 per cent. Opposition Samajwadi Party and RLD have complained of snags in EVM machines. Getting reports of problems in EVMs in the by election but still voters should go to cast votes, SP president Akhilesh Yadav said in a tweet. SP spokesman Rajendra Chaudhary charged that 140 EVMs have been tampered with in Noorpur and similar reports have also come in from Kairana. The BJP wants to avenge defeat in earlier bypolls in Gorakhpur and Phulpur anyhow and win these bypolls, Chaurdhary charged. RLD spokesman Anil Dubey said there are reports of EVM malfunctioning in both the constituencies, specially in areas where the RLD-SP have influence. We (RLD and SP) are going to meet the CEO to lodge a formal complaint in this regard, Dubey said. Denying opposition charge, government spokesman and cabinet minister Srikant Sharma said, Government has asked the EC to ensure free, fair and peaceful elections. The oppositions allegations are baseless and seeing their defeat they have started playing gimmicks and talking things, which are untrue. As far as EVMs are concerned, I am also getting complaints and the EC will look into it. UP Chief Electoral Officer, L Venkateswar Lu said faulty EVMs are being replaced. I want to assure political parties that faulty EVMs are being replaced and in case, they cannot be replaced due to shortage, the EC will not hesitate to order repoll, the CEO told reporters. The Kairana bypoll is signifcant as it would test the popularity of the ruling BJP in the state. The Kairana bypoll was necessitated following the death of BJP MP Hukum Singh in February. His daughter Mriganka Singh is the BJP candidate, pitted against Rashtriya Lok Dals Tabassum Hasan (BSP MP from Kairana in 2009) who is also supported by the Congress, the Samajwadi Party and also claims the support of the Bahujan Samaj Party. Kairana parliamentary constituency has five assembly segments – Shamli, Thana Bhawan and Kairana in Shamli district, and Gangoh and Nakur in Saharanpur district. Similarly, the by-election to Noorpur Assembly seat was necessitated by the death of sitting BJP MLA Lokendra Singh Chauhan in a road accident in February. In Noorpur, the BJP announced the name of Avani Singh, wife of late MLA Lokendra Chauhan, as its candidate. The SP has fielded Naeemul Hasan as its candidate. According to the Election Commission, there are 16.09 lakh voters in Kairana. This includes 8.73 lakh male voters and 7.36 lakh female voters. Noorpur Assembly constituency has 3.06 lakh voters. In Kairana, there are 12 candidates in the fray, while from Noorpur there are 10 candidates in the field. There are 2,056 polling booths. Counting of votes will take place on May 31.