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Meghalaya hopes for glitch-free counting

Shillong, May 13: With three days to go for the reckoning, Meghalaya is hoping for smooth counting of votes.

Along with the rest of the parliamentary constituencies across the country, counting of votes for the two seats in Meghalaya — Shillong and Tura — will be held on Friday from 8am onwards.

Meghalaya chief electoral officer (CEO) Prashant Naik today told reporters that the counting would be held amid tight security and under CCTV surveillance in all the counting centres.

Counting of votes in the two constituencies would be held in as many as 13 centres. For Shillong constituency, the counting will be conducted in the headquarters of the six districts and two civil subdivisions in the Khasi hills while for Tura constituency, the counting will be held in five centres at the headquarters of the five districts in the Garo hills.

Though the Election Commission has directed that each Lok Sabha constituency should have only one counting centre, Naik said the poll panel has given its nod to 13 counting centres for Meghalaya.

Naik said the counting centres include Shillong, Nongpoh, Mawkyrwat, Nongstoiñ, Khliehriat and Jowai, the headquarters of East Khasi Hills, Ri-Bhoi, South West Khasi Hills, West Khasi Hills, East Jaintia Hills and West Jaintia Hills districts besides Sohra and Mairang civil subdivisions for Shillong parliamentary constituency.

For Tura parliamentary constituency, the counting has been arranged at Tura, Williamnagar, Baghmara, Resubelpara and Ampati, the headquarters of West Garo Hills, East Garo Hills, South Garo Hills, North Garo Hills and South West Garo Hills districts.

Naik said votes counted in various centres would be compiled and declared only at the headquarters of the returning officers at Shillong and Tura for both the seats.

“If the counting goes smoothly, especially if there are no major hiccups in the EVMs, the results would be officially out by 5pm,” the CEO said, adding that unofficially, the winners from both the seats may be known by 2pm.

Naik cited a case where votes stored in one EVM at Madanrting “G” polling station under Nongkrem Assembly constituency could not be counted in the 2013 Assembly polls because of malfunctioning of the EVM. The polling station had 527 votes polled, and the votes were not counted since the winning candidate had a margin of over 1,990 votes.

“If such faulty EVMs are found during the counting, such machine would be kept aside and the matter would be referred to the EC immediately,” Naik said.

Naik, however, said engineers of Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL) which supplied the EVMs, would be stationed at all the counting centres to help find a solution if such a problem occurs during the counting of votes. From Shillong there are eight candidates and only two from Tura.