Assembly polls: Counting will be transparent, says Chief Election Commissioner

New Delhi [India], Mar. 10 (ANI): As the Assembly elections in five states come to an end, Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi on Friday said the counting process will be done according to the rules and will be free from any kind of malpractices, so, that the correct choice of voters is reflected.

"Counting is the conclusion of the long drawn electoral process, which the commission had launched on January 4. Voters' political choice must be correctly reflected during the counting process and ensured that the counting is done transparently according to the rules, free from any kind of malpractices," the Election Commissioner told ANI.

He added that there are established laws, rules and instructions of the commission according to which counting will be completed.

Elaborating the counting process, Zaidi said the first stage was bringing Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) from the polling stations to the strong room.

"That process has been accomplished in all states," he said.

"These strong rooms are under the protection and security cover of central police forces. They are covered by CCTVs, televisions and LED facilities. Political parties and candidates have also been given an opportunity to keep an eye on the strong rooms, so, that there is no malpractice done," Zaidi asserted.

He further said that the second part of the preparation is that EVMs are safely escorted from strong rooms to the counting halls.

"In most of the places, the counting rooms are nearby, but, in some places these rooms are at a distance. In such situations, the Commission has directed that between these two rooms there would be sanitised corridors which will be covered under CCTV," he added.

He said that the representatives of candidates can also keep an eye on the movement of the EVMs from strong rooms to the counting halls.

"The counting process goes on without any disruption and it has been ensured that all people entering the counting hall are subjected to frisking so that mobile phones, arms or any other undesirable material does not find any access inside the hall," the Election Commissioner said.

He said that before the counting process starts, the counting supervisors will ask counting agents to be satisfied if the machine, which is being subjected to counting, is the same that was used at the polling stations.

"The counting agents have the number of voting machines with them already furnished by the commission," he added.

After the counting agent is satisfied that the EVM is preserved and has not been subjected to any malpractice, then the results come out.

"After the completion of the counting process, there is a certain statutory procedure involved, which includes satisfaction of Regional Officer, signatures and declaration. This is the complete election process which may go on to late afternoon or evening on March 11," the Election Commissioner said.

As voting wraps up in five states - Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Goa, Manipur and Uttarakhand, the results will be declared on March 11. (ANI)