If the results of byelections to 12 Assembly constituencies reflected Telangana sentiment in full measure, they also established the efficacy of Electronic Voting Machines.
Not only did the election results help in dispelling apprehensions among some political parties that EVMs could be manipulated and tampered, but they also proved that technology could be used to ensure transparency, speed up polling and counting process and save on money and manpower.
This became apparent from the data provided by Chief Electoral Officer I. V. Subba Rao when he announced on Saturday the completion of by-poll process.
While counting of votes in seven constituencies where EVMs were deployed was completed and results announced in five hours on Friday, it took 20 hours to do so in five constituencies where ballot papers, each of the size of a newspaper were used.
Three batches of polling personnel, 500 in each batch, had to work in shifts till 4 a.m. on Saturday in the five constituencies to complete the tedious process of counting ballot papers. As many as 20,000 votes were declared invalid in constituencies where ballot boxes had to be used.
While Rs.5 crore was spent on conducting by-elections in five constituencies with ballot boxes, about Rs.60 lakhs to Rs.65 lakhs was spent on each of seven constituencies where EVMs were used.