The opposition Congress has asked its candidates and cadre to be proactive in detecting possible malpractices during counting. General Secretary Mohan Prakash said on Saturday that all party members have been instructed to prevent a repeat of the alleged malpractices in 2008 that cost the party seats.
“We will watch officials who have colluded with the BJP during the polls and also those whom we suspect will interfere with the people’s mandate,” he said. Counting will begin on Sunday morning and end in the afternoon.
The Congress has asked the EC to keep district collectors with suspicious track records out of counting centres. It has also demanded the cancellation of 65,000 odd postal ballots that have not yet been registered. The EC has also been requested to disregard ballots in EVMs that malfunctioned during polling.
“Our candidates and workers will be present at every polling centre and this will be coordinated by our MPs. The process will also be monitored from our Delhi and Bhopal offices. Suspicious activity will be reported to officials immediately and candidates have been asked to be stern,” Mr. Prakash added.
BJP state president Narendra Tomar said that while differences may persist on exit polls, condemning them is bad for democracy. “I want to tell the Congress to exercise restraint and maintain the decorum senior leaders are expected to.” He added that he expected the BJP to do better than 2008 when it won 143 of the 230 seats.
“The BSP has exploited caste aggregations in the districts bordering UP and they may be successful there. But MP is not a casteist state and the BSP can never play a larger role,” he added. Sources say that both the Congress and the BJP are in touch with the BSP in the event of a hung assembly.
BJP workers have been asked to keep all plans of celebrations on hold in case they win, as former minister Ramhit Gupta died in Satna at 3 p.m. on Saturday due to old age. Mr. Gupta, who was more than 80 years old, was the MP president of the BJP’s predecessor Bharatiya Jan Sangh. He had served as an MLA and as a minister several times.
Around 20,000 officials will be involved in counting of votes for 230 seats and centres in each of the 51 district headquarters. Postal ballots will be counted first at 8 a.m. followed by the EVMs. Trends are expected to be clear after 11 a.m.