By Matters India Reporter
Kochi, April 24, 2019: A faulty electronic voting machine on April 23 prevented Syro Malabar Major Archbishop Cardinal George Alencherry from voting.
The cardinal arrived at 6:45 am at his booth to cast his vote. Polling was scheduled to begin at 7 am.
“He was the first to arrive for voting, but when he tried to cast his vote, the EVM turned out to be defective,” said officials who manned the booth at St Mary’s Convent Girls Higher Secondary School at Kacheripady in Ernakulam.
After waiting for more than an hour, the cardinal left without voting, as he had to conduct the final funeral rites of Retired Bishop Abraham Mattom of Satna, who passed away a week earlier.
“The bishop’s funeral will take place at Satna (Madhya Pradesh), but the cardinal had to offer prayers and last rites here, prior to accompanying the bishop’s mortal remains to Satna by the morning flight,” sources at the Ernakulam-Angamaly archdiocese said.
The cardinal had to catch his flight scheduled at 10:30 am.
The poll officials could rectify the machine finally at around 9:15, and voting resumed.
Even before the voting began, long queues had formed outside the polling booth.
Another prominent voter at the booth was Archbishop Emeritus Francis Kallarackal of Verapoly. He left after casting his vote, once the problems with the EVMs were sorted out.
A total of 77.68 percent of Kerala’s 26.1 million voters turned up at 24,970 polling stations to exercise their franchise, reportedly a record for India’s most literate and politically active state.
The ruling Left Democratic Front and the Congress-led United Democratic Front fought a bitter battle for 20 Lok Sabha seats in Kerala.
Official sources said the election was by and large peaceful.
The Wayanad constituency, which came into national prominence after Congress chief’s Rahul Gandhi’s candidature, registered 80.31 percent against the 73.25 percent for the 2014 elections.