Ahead of Gujarat's second phase elections, the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Tuesday said that 100 per cent deployment of VVPAT machines in the state has "bolstered the voters confidence" in the electoral process.
It added that "strict adherence to ECI's stringent security and administrative protocols" leaves no room for any possibility of electoral malpractices.
"The ECI has put in place robust administrative safeguards and security protocols for use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) for the second phase of polls in Gujarat," the poll panel said.
During the first phase of polling in the state on December 9, more than 100 complaints of EVMs and VVPATs malfunctioning came from different places. Congress leader Arjun Modhwadia alleged that EVMs in Porbandar were linked with Bluetooth devices and being manipulated.
However, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Gujarat B.B. Swain dismissed the complaint as having "no merit in it".
The opposition has voiced doubts over EVMs' credibility, especially after the BJP swept the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections earlier this year.
On Tuesday, the EC said that thanks to "strict adherence" to its security and administrative protocols, there was "no room for any possibility of electoral malpractices during the first phase of polling on December 9".
It said that only a "miniscule percentage of technical glitches" in the EVMs and VVPATs were reported, which were "immediately addressed by replacing the machines".
"During the first phase of polling, only 0.75 per cent of Ballot Units, 0.75 per cent of Control Units and 2.8 per cent of VVPATs developed technical glitches such as broken/stuck buttons, no display etc," the EC said.
The poll panel reiterated that it has put in place an "elaborate framework of administrative system, security protocols and procedural checks-and-balances" in Gujarat, which prevent any possible misuse of EVMs or VVPATs.
It said that on the poll day of second phase, a mock poll by casting at least 50 votes will be conducted at every polling station by the Presiding Officer in the presence of the polling agents one hour before start of actual poll.
After the mock poll, Presiding Officer will ascertain the result in the Control Unit, count the VVPAT paper slips in the presence of the polling agents and confirm that the results tally for each candidate.