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First Lok Sabha Poll Result Expected Only by 10pm in Madhya Pradesh on May 23, Says CEO

Representative image.

Representative image.

The mandatory matching of slips of five VVPATs in every Assembly seat with the votes polled in corresponding EVMs is likely to delay the announcement of results.

Bhopal: Hinting at a delay in announcement of results due to matching of VVPAT slips with votes polled in corresponding EVMs, the Chief Electoral Officer of Madhya Pradesh, VL Kantha Rao, said the first result could only be out in the state as late as 10pm on May 23.

Briefing the media about counting preparations, the CEO said on Tuesday Indore could be the last in terms of announcement of results.

The process shall start with the counting of postal ballots at 8am on May 23, the CEO said.

However, with the mandatory matching of slips of five VVPATs in every Assembly seat with the votes polled in corresponding EVMs, the first result is only expected to be out by 10pm on May 23, said Rao, adding that Indore could be the last to have its result announced with 29 rounds of counting scheduled in the constituency.

Bhopal’s results could also be delayed as there are 30 candidates in the Lok Sabha seat, while Indore’s result could be as late as May 24 morning.

In the last Assembly polls as well, the results were delayed in a constituency in Bhind and at Narela in Bhopal as there were a large number of candidates there who were to be given counting certificates after every round of counting.

“About 1,000 pages of paper were used in Narela,” the officer said on expected delays.

The process of counting of votes would be undertaken by a 15,000-strong civil workforce under the watchful eyes of 9,000 armed personnel.

On being asked about the arrest of Chhindwara Assembly bypoll candidate Bunty Sahu and his men ahead of counting, Rao said the commission usually didn’t take cognisance of such police action during elections, but the EC did take note of this matter as a complaint was received over the arrest.

As this was a bailable offence where the arrested men have been bailed out, Rao said they were free to be appointed as polling agents.

When compared to the 2014 parliamentary election, there was a surge of 9.5% voting in the state, along with a rise in 12% women voters.

The CEO further said the percentage of male voters was 73.54% in 2019 as against 66.05% in 2014.

Overall, 71.10% voters turned out at polling booths for the Lok Sabha election in the state in 2019.

With over 2.21 lakh polling machines being used in 2019, only 3,436 had to be replaced.

“Of these, only 0.5% machines were replaced when the polling was underway and rest of them were replaced at the time of mock polls at polling booths.”

Re-polling was only held at a booth each in Sidhi and Shivpurkalan, added the polling officer.

The Election Commission has arranged a three-layer security cordon for strong rooms where counting centres have also been set up.

The outer layer is guarded by the district police and inner circles are kept under vigil by the Special Armed Force and Central Armed Police Force.