COUNTING begins under video radar

Srinagar: The Election Commission Thursday said a two-tier counting process involving cross-check of Electronic Voting Machines, was in place to avoid discrepancies and post-result complaints. Sharing details of counting arrangements, Umang Narulla, the Chief Electoral Officer, said the entire counting process will be video-graphed for the first time in the state besides being monitored strictly by General Election Observers, appointed by government of India, and micro observers attached to each counting table.

“I visited the three counting stations in Anantnag, Srinagar and Baramulla and we have completed all the arrangements for the counting. Not only video-graphy and strict monitoring by the observers but a copy of results delivered by each Electronic Voting Machine will be provided to each election agent present on the counting station,” Narulla informed.  The results of every EVM will be cross-checked by the voter forms available on each table, he added.  

He said the returning officers have held a detailed meeting with candidates who have contested these elections juts to explain the guidelines set by Election Commission of India to be followed in letter and spirit. “The candidates have been advised to be disciplined and follow the ECI guidelines strictly,”  Narulla added. He said that counting of 9633 EVMs will commence in five counting stations at 8.A.M on Friday. He said the process will be monitored by 8 General Observers and each of them will be accompanied by two Micro observers in Kashmir division.

He added that stringent security arrangements have also been made for all the five counting stations. “The Counting as per ECI guidelines will be carried out in the presence of General Observers, AROs and counting agents and after each round, the copy of results would also be provided to candidates,” he informed.  

 According to IGP Kashmir A G Mir, adequate arrangements have been made to ensure ‘no security lapses’ on these five counting stations including Leh and Kargil on May 16. “We have taken adequate security measures to facilitate a hassle free counting in all the five stations across the Kashmir division,”  Mir said. Official sources revealed , “Only those people will be allowed to centre into the counting premises who have a valid entry card issued by the election commission,” a well placed officer said.

An officer in the state electoral office said that preparations for May 16 Lok Sabha election counting which will be held at five counting stations including Leh and Kargil. Each counting station will have video surveillance to watch over. The security measures for counting halls and strong rooms–which contain the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), have been planned as per the ECI guidelines. 

Over 3000 employees have been deployed at three out of five counting stations in Kashmir valley, officials said adding that most of the men engaged for the counting process will handle the machines.

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