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Thursday, April 22, 2021

Difference in number of votes polled and counted in LS polls

20 Vadodara constituencies saw a total of 11,55,694 votes being polled on April 30, but according to district election office records on May 16, the total number of votes stood at 11,55,656

Written by Aditi Raja | Vadodra |
May 22, 2014 2:06:26 am

The Lok Sabha poll results from the Vadodara Parliamentary constituency have been talked about for Narendra Modi’s grand victory margin, but a comparison between the number of votes polled on April 30 and counted on May 16 show discrepancies in all seven Assembly constituencies – albeit, inconsequential to the overall result.

The discrepancy has raised questions on the efficiency of EVM, that by design ought to deliver precise figures. District Election officers say the inconsistency is only “clerical error while reporting”.

A comparative booth-wise list of the number of votes polled and counted in Vadodara reveal a rather imperfect picture, though not in terms of its impact on the overall result that gave a majestic victory margin to Narendra Modi.

While the 20 Vadodara Parliamentary constituencies saw a total of 11,55,694 votes being polled on April 30, according to official records of the District Election office, on May 16, the total number of votes stood at 11,55,656. Overall, the result stood 38 short of the voting figure of April 30.

All of the seven Parliamentary constituencies showed discrepancy in the number of votes polled and counted with Sayajigunj showing the highest difference of 80 votes lesser than those polled on April 30.

In Savli, 26 additional votes were counted as against the figure of 1,35,599. Some officials say that the minor differences in numbers could have cropped up at some booths that failed to clear the mock votes polled before the actual voting began on April 30, but they are unable to explain how the recorded figure on polling day has been different from May 16.

Officials point out that since the record sheet of polled votes and counted votes is made manually, there are chances of human error. In the data record sheet of Sayajigunj Assembly constituency, for instance, on April 30, polling booth Gorwa-46 is shown to have recorded 1013 votes, but on May 16, 1,013 votes are shown as counted from booth Gorwa-50.

While booth Gorwa-66 polled 722 votes on April 30, on counting day the figure has inexplicably gone up to 988 and in booths Gorwa-67 and Gorwa-68 that polled 991 and 938 votes on April 30 respectively, the counting day figures are down to 745 in both booths. Of the total votes polled in the constituency, not a single vote was rejected.

However, out of the total 6,512 postal ballots, 591 were rejected.

When contacted, Congress leaders said they had brought the discrepancy to the notice of election officers inside counting booths instantly. Congress spokesperson Shailesh Amin, who was also the election agent for candidate Madhusudan Mistry, said, “It is surprising that all Assembly constituencies showed errors in polled votes and counted votes.

When I brought this issue to the notice of the officers, they said the minor errors are bound to happen and given the ongoing variance of votes between Mistry and Modi, it will make no difference to the Congress chances. In fact, officers turned around and asked me if the all the difference votes are added to the Congress tally, would it make the candidate win? We did not pursue the matter with the officers after that since most of our important complaints filed during elections are yet to get a reply.”

However, District Election Officer Vinod Rao told The Indian Express, “The difference in the number of votes is an inadvertent clerical error of the Presiding Officer, while reporting it. It happens when officers note down the figures and they could be misread while recording the data.

In such cases, a joint decision has to be taken by the Returning Officer and Observer over the issue, as provided by the guidelines of the Election Commission of India, if the difference does not greatly impact the result.” Accordingly, Returning Officer Rao with General Observer SN Prasad had considered the difference of votes as it did not impact the result of the constituency.

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