NEW DELHI: Checking and examination of the seal of EVMs by candidates, a series of verifications during counting, and some other issues led to unexpected delay in counting of votes in Madhya Pradesh. Moreover, the state had added about 13,000, or 21 per cent new polling stations as compared to the previous pollls.
This increased the average number of rounds of counting, causing further delay.
According to Election Commission officials, right from the first round of counting starting at 8.30am, the candidates were particular about checking and examining every seal, tag and serial number of the EVMs and their cases being brought to the counting tables.
“In several cases, they raised trivial objections on the seals, serial number/tag number, signatures of polling staff on the tags, etc., which required the intervention, explaining and convincing by the returning officer, district election officer and observer before these EVMs were taken up for counting. Even though no EVM was kept aside or found tampered with amongst the 66,000 EVMs taken up for counting, the process of objections slowed down the rounds,” said the EC official.
Officials said that when a result is noted from an EVM machine at a counting table, it is written down on part two of Form 17C, and the counting agents verify and sign on this sheet, which is then photocopied and given to them. Similarly, when the tabulation of 14 such results from the 14 tables in the counting hall is made into a broad sheet, it is again verified and photocopies are distributed to the candidates. Strict adherence to this procedure slowed down the counting.