Guwahati: Ahead of the counting of votes, the political parties under ‘Mahajot’ (grand-alliance) in a letter to the Chief Election Commissioner, Election Commission of India raised concern over alleged variation of the number of counting tables from one constituency to another in poll-bound Assam.
The Mahajot allies also requested the ECI for making arrangements of counting of votes uniformly in all LACs on May 2 in the recently concluded state elections.
The letter reads, “We have come to know that the Returning officers for different LAC more particularly the Deputy Commissioner and SDO(Civil) have already made details arrangements for counting of votes in their respective district, sub-division, etc.”
“So far the manual of Election commission regarding the counting of votes is concerned, it is clearly laid down the specific guidelines for making arrangement of counting like counting hall, number of counting tables, number of counting agents by different contesting candidates etc. But we have come to know that in many constituencies the arrangement of counting halls and counting tables are not in uniformity and vary from one constituency to the other constituencies,” claimed the signatories of the political parties under ‘Mahajot’.
The ‘Mahajot’ allies in their letter raised concern on the variation of the number of counting tables from one constituency to another through a table format.
|Name of LAC||Number of Polling stations||Arrangement of counting hall/table|
|Nazira||194||2 2×7= 14 tables|
|Samaguri||236||2 2×7= 14 tables|
|Silchar||282||2 2×7= 14 tables|
|South Karimganj||253||3 3×7= 21 tables|
|Bihpuria||218||3 3×7= 21 tables|
|Rupohihat||283||2 2×7= 14 tables|
|Badanpur||246||3 3×7= 21 tables|
|Borkhola||219||3 3×7= 21 tables|
|Dhing||331||3 3×7= 21 tables|
|Raha||306||2 2×7= 14 tables|
|Lumding||301||4 4×7= 28 tables|
They also sought ECI’s intervention into the matter of whether the tables have been allotted in proportionate with the number of polling stations or not.
The political parties further claimed that such types of discrepancies, variations in the number of tables have created serious doubts in the minds of candidates and the public. “We have already made it clear about our apprehension and likelihood of occurring any untoward incident which may lead to mal-counting, disturbance in smooth counting and manipulation in counting if counting is continued till night due to less number of counting tables where the number of polling stations is more,” the letter added.
Notably, in most of the constituencies, the returning officers have made arrangements of 21 counting tables in three halls, seven tables in each hall, which the political parties under Mahajot believe to be the most ideal arrangement for all the constituencies.
The signatories of the Mahajot further urged the CEC to take a reasonable decision and issue an instruction to all the returning officers to make arrangement of counting tables uniformly in proportionate with the number of polling stations so that there should not be any inordinate delay in completion of the counting process due to less number of counting table in some constituencies.