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Regular-article-logo Tuesday, 28 May 2024

Flutter over Delhi turnout figure delay

The final turnout — 62.59% — was announced by the chief electoral officer of Delhi at 7pm on Sunday

Our Special Correspondent New Delhi Published 09.02.20, 09:05 PM
Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal shows his inked finger after voting on Saturday.

Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal shows his inked finger after voting on Saturday. Telegraph file picture

The delay on the part of the Election Commission in announcing the voter turnout for Saturday’s Delhi Assembly election set alarm bells ringing in the ruling Aam Aadmi Party, which has been predicted by all exit polls to have an easy win.

The final turnout — 62.59 per cent — was eventually announced by the chief electoral officer of Delhi, Ranbir Singh, at 7pm on Sunday, more than 24 hours after the close of polling.

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By this time Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal had tweeted his concern and his party, the AAP, had held a news conference questioning the delay.

After 17 hours had passed with no word from the Election Commission on the turnout, Kejriwal tweeted: “Absolutely shocking. What is EC doing? Why are they not releasing poll turnout figures, several hours after polling?”

Former chief election commissioner S.Y. Quraishi sought to quell speculation by referring to a late-night tweet of the Election Commission spokesperson that put the turnout at 61.43 per cent at 10.17pm on Saturday. “This was from ECI Spokesperson. Must be taken as authentic and final,” he wrote.

AAP Rajya Sabha MP Sanjay Singh held a news conference to point out that so much time was not taken in announcing the turnout even in the Lok Sabha elections, when the number of polling stations is several times more than Delhi’s 13,750.

“This shows that something is cooking somewhere,” Singh said, adding that so much time was never taken even in the ballot paper days.

The AAP leader also drew attention to BJP leaders taunting opponents not to blame electronic voting machines when the results are announced on Tuesday.

Briefing mediapersons in the evening, the Delhi CEO said: “Data entry needs a lot of accuracy, it took a little bit of time.”

Sandeep Saxena, deputy election commissioner at the Election Commission of India, chipped in: “This is final. There is no question of delay.”

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