Preparations for counting of votes for Lok Sabha elections are in the final stage. This is the first Lok Sabha election where EVM results will be matched with VVPAT slips.
A 24 hour EVM Control Room has been made functional at Nirvachan Sadan to monitor complaints relating to polled EVMs. The complaints related to storage issues at strong rooms, security of strong rooms, permissions to candidates to post their agents at strong rooms, CCTV monitoring, movement of any EVMs, and any complaints during counting related to EVMs can be informed at control room number is 011-23052123.
The Counting of Votes for the general elections will be held from 8 am on Thursday. Counting of votes for assembly elections in Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim will also be held with the general elections on Thursday.
In Mumbai, Counting of polled EVMs of six parliamentary constituencies is going to be held at three locations. NESCO Complex Goregaon, Udayanchal School Vikhroli and New Shivdi Warehouse, Shivadi East.
Mumbai Police has deployed more than 1500 officers and staff at these locations including CRPF, SRPF, QRT, RCP.
Ever since exit polls predicted the return of the Modi led NDA govt, opposition parties have increased the tone and tenor of their charges, alleging more EVM fraud. Opposition party leaders raised their concern of alleged replacement of EVMs from strongrooms with the poll body. The Election Commission has termed the allegations as unfounded. The Commission said in a statement that such reports and allegations are baseless, in particular the allegations regarding Ghazipur, Chandauli, Dumriyaganj and Jhansi parliamentary constituencies.
The commission clarified some areas of concerns:
— After the close of polls, all polled EVMs and VVPATs are brought under security cover to the designated strongrooms
— The designated strongrooms are sealed with double locks, in the presence of the candidates and in the presence of Observers of EC.
— Entire process of storage and sealing of the strongroom is covered under videography
— Continuous CCTV coverage is done till completion of counting.
— Each strongroom is guarded with round-the-clock security by Central Armed Police Forces.
— Candidates or their designated agents remain present at the strongroom for 24X7 vigil at all times.
— On the counting day, the strongrooms are opened in the presence of the candidates/agents and Observer under videography.
— Before the counting of EVMs commences, the counting agents are shown the address tags, seals and serial number of the EVMs To satisfy themselves to the genuineness and authenticity of the machines used in the actual polls.
The Electoral process has already been made more robust after the EC installed VVPAT Machines along with EVMs in all polling booths. Voters can identify whether their votes are being cast for the right candidate. 5 VVPATs from each assembly constituency will be randomly matched with the corresponding EVM. The matching will ensure the complete transparency of the entire electoral process.
Meanwhile, BJP lashed out at the Opposition for raising doubts about the efficacy of electronic voting machines. BJP leader Syed Shahnawaz Hussain said that, EVM become good for them when they win the election, however, when they lose polls, they blame EVM.
While Union Minister and senior BJP leader JP Nadda slammed Opposition for raising doubts over EVM. He accused the opposition of dishonoring and disrespecting the people’s mandate.