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Unlucky in the morning, sitting Bengal MPs finally vote in the evening

Posted on Apr 24 2014 | IANS

Kolkata, April 24 : They are sitting MPs and belong to the family of Congress stalwart Ghani Khan Chowdhury - who never lost an election from Malda. But Abu Hasem Khan Choudhury and Mausam Benazir Noor had to wait for hours to cast their own votes.

Choudhury, contesting from Malda South and Benazir from Malda North, had demanded repolling after a faulty EVM prevented them from casting their votes. But the duo subsequently relented after being able to exercise their democratic rights later in the evening.

"This is the first time I could not cast my vote," Choudhury, a union minister, had said in the morning.

But both were a happier lot after the EVM was replaced and they could finally vote in the evening.

"Following our complaints, the EVM was replaced and the poll officials assured of extending the polling time ensuring voters can exercise their right. So now we have withdrawn our demand for repolling," Choudhury told IANS.

Benazir too expressed satisfaction over the proceedings after being able to vote. She however, said there were reports of rigging and obstruction to some of the voters from the ruling Trinamool Congress.

With reports of malfunctioning of EVMs reported from several booths, the EC said that it had to replace 27 of the devices in the second phase of the polls in the state for six parliamentary seats.

Balurghat's Bharatiya Janata Party candidate Biswapriya Roychowdhury during the day lodged a complaint with the EC alleging that an EVM in a booth in Itahar block was rigged in favour of the Trinamool candidate.

However, chief electoral officer Sunil Gupta rejected the allegation saying: "It was a case of malfunctioning of the EVM and we replaced it immediately. Polling began immediately after a brief halt."

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