ECI releases seat-wise polling numbers for five phases, slams ‘false narratives’ on voter turnout data | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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ECI releases seat-wise polling numbers for five phases, slams ‘false narratives’ on voter turnout data

May 25, 2024 05:34 PM IST

The Election Commission said that it has taken note of a pattern of "creating false narratives and mischievous design to vitiate electoral process".

The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Saturday released absolute voter turnout numbers for the first five phases of the ongoing Lok Sabha elections and reiterated that the polling data has always been accessible to both candidates and the public.

Election Commission of India said voter turnout data was always available with candidates and 24x7 on Voter Turnout app. (Photo by Niharika KULKARNI / AFP)
Election Commission of India said voter turnout data was always available with candidates and 24x7 on Voter Turnout app. (Photo by Niharika KULKARNI / AFP)

Hitting out at what it called a "pattern of false narratives and mischievous design to vitiate electoral process", the ECI maintained that voter turnout data has always been promptly available through its app from 9:30am of the poll day of each phase.

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The ECI released the absolute polling numbers a day after the Supreme Court refused to issue directions to the poll body on an NGO's plea for uploading polling booth-wise voter turnout data on its website during the Lok Sabha elections and favoured a "hands-off attitude" amidst an ongoing electoral process.

The poll panel had opposed the NGO's demand contending it would "vitiate" the electoral space and cause "chaos" in the poll machinery in the midst of the general elections.

“The Commission feels duly strengthened by the Hon’ble Supreme Court’s observations and verdict on the process of release of turnout data by the Election Commission of India,” the poll body said in a release.

Read: ECI to examine BJP’s code of conduct violation complaint against Uddhav Thackeray

The ECI stressed that any alteration of the number of votes polled is not possible due to the rigorous, transparent, and participative process involved.

It pointed out that authorised agents of all candidates possess Form 17C, which records the total number of votes polled at each of the approximately 10.5 lakh polling stations across 543 parliamentary constituencies. The Commission said the total number of votes polled recorded in Form 17C cannot be altered as they are available to all contesting candidates.

“Agents of candidates are always allowed to accompany EVM and statutory papers, including form 17 C from polling station till storage in a strong room as per Rule 49 V (2) of the Conduct of Election Rules 1961,” the ECI noted.

“The candidate or his agents bring the copy of the form 17C to the counting centre and compare it with the result in each round,” it added.

Read: ECI pulls up BJP's Abhijit Gangopadhyay over 'sexist' comment on Mamata Banerjee: ‘Injudicious’

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