Seven buildings across the capital, housing over 20,000 EVMs, have turned fortresses ahead of counting day on Friday.
Over the past one month, a three-tier security cordon has been guarding these EVMs, that will decide the fate of 150 candidates in fray for the Lok Sabha polls from Delhi. Police sources said a platoon of paramilitary force had been posted outside each building. The periphery was being guarded by another platoon of armed personnel. The outer circle, which is the road outside these buildings, was being guarded by the Delhi Police.
On Friday, the number of police personnel outside each building will be increased. Police said personnel from the Reserve Forces of the Delhi Police were on standby to be posted to any centre.
Barricades manned by armed guards from the CRPF and the CISF have also been placed at the entrances of each building. Depending on the number of party workers who will assemble outside the counting centres on Friday, police will post more men from the Reserve Battalion — who will be waiting in buses — to these centres.
On Friday morning, the seal on the strong rooms in which the EVMs are stored will be broken open by the counting agent and other Election Commission officials in the presence of local police. This will be done around 5-6 am.
The entire counting process on May 16 will be videographed, officials said.
“All rooms where the EVMs from the respective constituencies are stored have been sealed. This will be opened only on Friday morning. For each constituency, there is a colour coding. An officer of the rank of Sub-Inspector or Inspector will escort EVMs to the counting room,” a senior police officer said.
Postal ballots will be counted first. After a gap of 30 minutes, the EVMs will be opened. Assistant returning officers will oversee the counting of the postal ballot, election officials said.
Special Commissioner of Police(Law and Order) Deepak Mishra said, “I cannot reveal the details of the security at counting centres. We have provided adequate security at all seven centres.”
Delhi registered a high voter turnout of 65.09 per cent in the Lok Sabha polls on April 10.
According to Election Commission regulations, there will be 10 micro observers deployed in each parliamentary seat and an assistant electoral registration officer for each counting table. Mobile phones and other electronic gadgets have been banned on counting premises, but election officials can use laptops or other devices to transmit results.
Barring the counting supervisors, micro observers and persons authorised by the Election Commission, no one else will be allowed to enter the counting centres.