Acting on a petition filed by the Congress, the Gujarat High Court on Monday issued a notice to the Election Commission of India (ECI) and the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Gujarat over defective EVMs and VVPAT units detected during checks held before the Assembly polls.The Congress had demanded that defective Electronic Voting Machines and Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail units be sealed and not used during State polls scheduled to be held on December 9 and 14.The party said that around 7% of the 70,182 VVPAT units were found to be defective during first-level checks ahead of polls.A Division Bench of Justice Akil Kureshi and Justice A.J. Kogje issued the notice and asked the ECI and the CEO to submit a response by November 13.
Political analysts see a strong undercurrent against the incumbent Manohar Lal Khattar-led government in Haryana working against the ruling BJP, yielding it a figure way below the halfway mark in the 90-member State Assembly. The party was left red-faced after eight of its 12 Ministers excluding the Chief Minister lost the election.“Anti-incumbency did play a role. There was surely an undercurrent against the government, which has been reflected in the loss of sitting Ministers,” said Ashutosh Kumar, professor of political science at Panjab University. He said the BJP needs to realise that in the long run, it needs to take local issues and local governance into consideration. “How long would national issues or the popularity of its national leader help? The defeat of the Cabinet Ministers shows the Khattar government in poor light,” said Mr. Kumar.Vijay Chauhan, assistant professor at the Department of Political Science at Dyal Singh College in Karnal, also attested to the election results proving that there was an anti-incumbency factor at work. “Local issues, economic issues and caste calculations played a major role in comparison to national issues such as nationalism and national security in this election,” he said.Mr. Chauhan said the ruling party also failed to polarise the electorate along Jat and non-Jat lines having given 20 tickets to candidates from the community despite largely being tagged as a non-Jat party. BJP rebelsHe also pointed out that as many as five of the seven Independent candidates who have won are BJP rebels. “This shows that the BJP’s ticket distribution process had some faults. In the 2014 election, the party made a virtual clean sweep in north Haryana’s 27 Assembly seats but this time it failed to retain its position in the region,” said Mr. Chauhan.