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Ensure Counting Guidelines are Followed, INDIA Bloc Urges EC

On Saturday, senior leaders of the INDIA bloc met here to discuss their strategy for the counting day, even as the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) skipped the meeting.

NEW DELHI — A delegation of leaders from the INDIA opposition bloc met the full bench of the Election Commission on Sunday and urged it to ensure that all the guidelines are followed on June 4, when the votes polled in the Lok Sabha election will be counted, including declaring the postal-ballot results before the outcome of the EVMs is announced.

Briefing the media after the meeting, Congress leader Abhishek Singhvi said this was the third time that a delegation of opposition leaders visited the poll panel during the general election and, among other things, urged the officials to ensure that the postal ballots are counted and their results declared before the results of the electronic voting machines (EVMs) are announced, PTI reported.

“This is the third multi-party delegation visiting the EC during this process…. We spent time with the EC on two-three major issues. Most important was counting the postal ballots and declaring the results first. This is a very clearly stated statutory rule, which specifically says that you should take up the postal ballots first,” Singhvi said.

“Our complaint is that this guideline has been given a go-by. They have repealed the practice,” he added.

The leaders of the Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance (INDIA) requested the EC to instruct its officials that they should follow the guidelines.

Communist Party of India (Marxist) general secretary Sitaram Yechury said they have urged the poll panel to ensure that its own guidelines are implemented, which includes ensuring that the control units of the EVMs are moved through CCTV-monitored corridors and a verification of the current date-and-time display of the control units is done.

“This verification is important because unless it is done, there is no authenticity that it is the same control unit that came from the polling booth, that it has not been changed,” he said.

Yechury also said the start and end time and date of the polling process should be checked on the control unit.

“The slips and tags that are put when an EVM is sealed should be shown to all the counting agents for verification. After pressing the button for the results, reconfirming the date of poll is not done … that has to be ensured,” he said.

On Saturday, senior leaders of the INDIA bloc met here to discuss their strategy for the counting day, even as the Trinamool Congress (TMC) and People’s Democratic Party (PDP) skipped the meeting.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, who presided over the deliberations, said they would meet EC officials on Sunday “to discuss certain issues”.

The opposition parties have asked their agents to monitor the vote-counting process closely on Tuesday and ensure that form 17C, which contains the number of votes recorded at each polling station, is shared with them.

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