Final poll results not before Thursday night

The VVPAT matching process could delay the process by nearly three hours

By Our Bureau in Ranchi/Jamshedpur
  • Published 22.05.19, 12:06 AM
  • Updated 22.05.19, 12:06 AM
  • 2 mins read
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Returning officer Rai Mahimapat Ray along with others at the review meeting in Ranchi on Tuesday. Picture by Prashant Mitra

Final results of the Election 2019 are likely to be delayed till late evening on Thursday, election commission officials indicated, saying that the exercise to match and tally votes with VVPAT machines in five booths of each assembly segment could upset schedules.

“Five booths will be randomly selected from each Assembly segment of all the 14 parliamentary seats. After counting of votes cast via EVMs, VVPAT slips of five booths from each Assembly seat selected randomly will be matched with EVMs. This will certainly take time and take an additional 40-45 minutes for each booth,” additional chief electoral officer Vinay Kumar Choubey told The Telegraph on Tuesday.

As in earlier elections, counting in all centres would begin by 8am with electronically transmitted postal ballot system (ETPBS) taken up first, followed by postal ballots. But if trends would be clear by noon and final results announced by late afternoon, the schedule would be different this time.

The VVPAT matching process could delay the process by nearly three hours. Though trends can be had by noon, final results won’t be out before late evening.

In Ranchi, deputy commissioner and returning officer Rai Mahimapat Ray held a meeting to review preparations for Thursday’s counting. He also visited Pandra Bazaar Samiti where EVMs have been kept in a strong room with central forces on guard.

“Counting will be completed in 21 rounds and results will be declared subject to clearance of the Election Commission of India,” he said about Ranchi parliamentary constituency.

“We can’t give any specific time when results will be declared. There will be 151 tables for counting and each table will have three counting officials,” he explained.

But sources in the district administration said that a clear picture of the poll results would be available only after 6pm.

Ray has formed an election unit headed by deputy returning officer Bipin Bihari.

“Details of each round of counting will be uploaded on the Suvidha portal and app, both online facilities launched by the commission to help candidates and parties. People can install the app on their mobile phones to get real-time updates of the each round of counting,” Bihari said.

In Jamshedpur, East Singhbhum deputy commissioner Amit Kumar said there would be 20 rounds of counting in most of the Assembly segments of Jamshedpur constituency.

“After completing counting of ETPBS and postal ballots, we will start random counting of voter verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) slips matching it with EVM results. Only after that will we begin EVM counting,” he said, iterating that the process would certainly take time.

On Tuesday, a counting trial was held at Jamshedpur Cooperative College, the strong room for the Jamshedpur seat, under East Singhbhum deputy commissioner Amit Kumar who is also district electoral officer. As many as 30 rounds of counting was held with dummy entries.

“We even issued mock certificates to winners and other candidates after the trial. We hope to complete counting on Thursday as quickly as possible,” Kumar said.

An official involved with the process said Jugsalai Assembly segment had the maximum number of booths (381). “The Jugsali segment will wrap up the process and provide the final results,” he said.

The deputy commissioner said counting would be held under strict surveillance. No water bottles, food packets, mobiles and tobacco products would be allowed on the premises of the strong room.

“We will make arrangements for food and drinking water. Mobiles would only be allowed for administrative officials involved in counting and security personnel,” he added.