Maharashtra 2019

25,000 personnel to watch over counting in Maharashtra

Ready for D-Day: Polling officers carry out the final arrangements at a counting centre in Nagpur South West constituency on Wednesday.

Ready for D-Day: Polling officers carry out the final arrangements at a counting centre in Nagpur South West constituency on Wednesday.   | Photo Credit: S Sudershan

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CCTV cameras set up in strongrooms, EVM transport to 269 centres to be video recorded

The State Election Commission (SEC) has deployed near 25,000 personnel at 269 counting centres, where votes for the Assembly polls will be tallied on Thursday. All preparations are complete to conduct free and fair counting and announce results, additional chief electoral officer Dilip Shinde said.

He said one security guard along with an SEC-appointed observer will oversee the process of bringing the electronic voting machines (EVMs) from the strongrooms to the centres.

Counting of votes will begin at 8 a.m. on Thursday.

The SEC has deployed personnel of the Central Reserve Police Force and State Reserve Police Force outside the strongrooms to secure the EVMs, senior officials said. The heavy deployment is a result of the accusation by political parties of widespread manipulations and tampering with EVMs during polling on Monday.

“To ensure foolproof security we have also installed several CCTV cameras in the strongrooms. We will video record the entire process of bringing the EVMs out from the strongrooms to the counting centres and back,” Mr. Shinde said.

The SEC has debunked the claims of EVM tampering, while assuring to look into the claims made by the Opposition parties. It has put in place a mechanism to assess all such complaints, including those made by Opposition parties.

Opposition complaints

The Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) have alleged tampering at several locations during the polling. On Tuesday, Maharashtra Congress president Balasaheb Thorat wrote to the SEC, demanding all EVMs be put inside strongrooms and jammers be installed around counting centres. He had said the result of individual rounds must be declared the moment counting is complete for that round, and alleged EVM-related issues at 221 locations, including Ghatkopar and Goregaon in Mumbai.

In another incident, two people were allegedly stopped carrying EVMs in a private vehicles in Chandrapur. The incident took place in Ballarpur from where Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar is contesting, the Congress alleged. State Youth Congress president Satyajeet Tambe had also raised doubts of EVM tampering.

According to the SEC’s own report, 865 instances of ballot and control units of EVMs and VVPATs being replaced were reported from across the State.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2020 8:04:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/elections/maharashtra-assembly/25000-personnel-to-watch-over-counting/article29780448.ece

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