There was a “100 per cent match” in the random vote count on EVMs and paper trail slips carried out by the Election Commission in 182 Gujarat polling stations , a senior official said. The EC had said it would conduct random vote counts on EVMs and VVPAT slips in one polling station in each of the 182 Assembly constituencies. “There was a 100 per cent match in the results of the EVM and the slips produced by the paper trail machines,” the official of the election machinery said. The polling stations were decided through a draw of lots in which the candidates or their agents were also present. The EC had decided to match the tally in select polling stations amid allegations that the EVMs were compromised to help the BJP. In Gujarat, Chief Electoral Officer B B Swain also said that the vote count through the EVMs matched with the VVPAT in all the constituencies where the paper trail slips were counted. Officials did not find any mismatch in the EVM vote count and VVPAT slip count as the counting concluded today evening, Swain said.
“This was basically a confidence-building exercise. We did this at one polling booth each in all the 182 seats after the counting ended today. At all these booths, vote count of a randomly selected EVM matched with the slips of the connected VVPAT. There was no mismatch at any of the booths,” he said. Besides, as announced earlier, VVPAT slips were taken into consideration during today’s counting at 10 booths across seven constituencies as the presiding officers of these booths had failed to wipe out the votes from the EVMs during the mock poll ahead of the voting on December 9 and 14. In addition, four such new cases had emerged during today’s counting at Vagra, Dwarka, Ankleshwar and Bhavnagar- Rural seats, Swain said.
“There was a mismatch of some votes on one booth each of these four seats. This occurred because the Returning Officer must have made the same mistake but it could not be detected earlier. So we took into account VVPAT slips for these booths during the counting and resolved the issue,” he said.
On December 15, the Supreme Court had refused to entertain a plea of the Gujarat Congress seeking counting of at least 20 per cent of the paper trail slips manually along with votes cast in the EVMs in each constituency of the state. It had said that the court cannot interfere unless the Election Commission of India’s decision to restrict the EVM- VVPAT paper trail to one booth per constituency is proved “arbitrary”, “illegal” or “malafide”.