Lok Sabha polls: ECI releases absolute poll numbers for five phases

ECI said that it feels ‘duly strengthened’ by the SC verdict refusing to consider a plea to direct the Commission to publish final data on voter turnout in all polling stations on its website.
Election Commission of India office in New Delhi.
Election Commission of India office in New Delhi.Photo | PTI

NEW DELHI: Terming it a "pattern of false narratives and mischievous design to vitiate the electoral process," the Election Commission, while releasing the absolute number of votes cast in the first five phases, on Saturday said that voter turnout data has always been promptly available through its app from 9.30 am on the poll days.

In an official statement, the poll panel said that it feels ‘duly strengthened’ by the Supreme Court verdict refusing to consider a plea to direct the Commission to publish final data on voter turnout in all polling stations on its website.

“This new format will include the absolute number of voters in each parliamentary constituency,” it said, adding that it is the commission’s assurance that any alteration in the number of votes polled “is impossible”.

Incidentally, the commission’s remarks come after the Opposition questioned the delay in the final voter turnout data release after the first and second phases of polling and alleged discrepancies in them by the poll panel.

Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge claimed that the ‘credibility’ of the EC was at an “all-time low.”

The commission, in response, reiterated that the entire process of the collection and storage of votes is rigorous, transparent and participative. It added that there was a “pattern of false narratives and mischievous design to vitiate the electoral process.”

“The commission and its officials across the states have been disseminating voter turnout data in the best possible manner, taking into account statutory considerations,” the poll panel said.

It also pointed out that authorised agents of all candidates possess Form 17C, which records the total number of votes polled at each of the approximately 10.5 lakh polling stations across 543 parliamentary constituencies.

The Commission said the total number of votes polled and recorded in Form 17C cannot be altered as they are available to all contesting candidates.

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