With opposition parties expressing doubts over the security of EVMs, the Election Commission officials said all arrangements have been made for smooth counting of votes on Thursday for 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh. Security personnel have been deployed in large numbers across the state for the counting process, which will start at 8 am, with entry of authorised people inside the counting centres being allowed only on valid passes, said election officials.
Extra precaution is being taken in about a dozen sensitive districts and prohibitory orders have been imposed, sources said, adding the EC has already banned victory processions and warned that no laxity in compliance of orders would be tolerated. A three-tier security system has been put in place at the counting centres all over the state with deployment of sufficient number of personnel from paramilitary forces and state police to ensure smooth conduct of counting and strict compliance of law and order.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) L Venkateshwarlu said all arrangements for smooth counting have been completed with proper training to the officials and staff on counting duty. “Orders have also been issued to them to strictly follow the directives for the counting process,” the CEO said. Though trends will be available at regular intervals during the counting, results will be declared only after approval from the Election Commission, he said.
“The announcement of results this time could take a little longer with five booths in each assembly segment of the Lok Sabha constituency to be cross-examined with VVPAT slips,” he said. Polling for the 80 Lok Sabha seats in Uttar Pradesh were held in seven phases with around 58 per cent of the total 14.76 crore voters exercising their franchise. Other than EVM glitches at certain places, the polling in the state was peaceful. Opposition parties, however, have expressed doubts over the security of EVMs kept in strong rooms in different constituencies and accused the district administration of favouring the ruling party.