A collector from Maharashtra’s Buldhana district has confirmed the malfunctioning of an electronic voting machine used during district council elections in February this year, IANS reported. Replying to an RTI query filed by activist Anil Galgali, the collector said any vote given to an independent candidate, had gone to the Bharatiya Janata Party’s candidate.

The collector said the glitch was observed at polling station no. 56 in Sultanpur of Lonar town in Buldhana on February 16. “When the voter pressed the Independent candidate no. 1’s coconut symbol, the LED lamp flashed against the BJP candidate no. 4’s lotus symbol, signifying the vote had gone to the latter,” Galgali said.

The independent candidate, Asha Arun Zore, had first lodged her complaint on the day of polling, however, the election officer concerned had refused to act on it. After half the voting time was passed, the election officials closed the polling station citing malfunctioning EVMs. A repoll was conducted on February 21, the RTI said.

Galgali had filed an RTI query on June 16 seeking information about the complaint filed by Zore and details of the inquiry report submitted by the returning officer.

Galgali wondered why the Election Commission had consistently denied any EVM fraud when such instances have occurred. “In order to avoid such repetition in future, the Election Commission must consider alternatives to the EVMs which can be tampered with,” he said.

Allegations of EVM tampering had come up after the Bharatiya Janata Party had swept state elections in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.