Uncertainty over simultaneous counting of votes for civic bodies’ polls

January 11th, 2012 - 9:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Mumbai, Jan 11 (IANS) The Maharashtra State Election Commission Wednesday expressed uncertainty over conducting simultaneous counting of votes polled in the Zilla Parishad and municipal corporation elections scheduled in the state next month.

State Election Commissioner Neela Satyanarayan said the possibility of simultaneous counting of votes would be clear only by next week when new electronic voting machines (EVMs), which have been ordered from the Hyderabad-based state-owned Electronics Corportion of India (ECI) would be received.

“Presently, the state has around 26,000 EVMs, but we will require around 66,000 EVMs for the Zilla Parishad and another 26,000 for civic corporation elections. We have ordered 26,000 new EVMs from ECI, and we shall come to know of the delivery schedule by Jan 15,” Satyanarayan said.

The new design EVMs shall enable three voters to simultaneously cast their electronic votes, unlike the earlier model which permitted only one voter at a time.

This would help reduce queues at polling stations and save voters’ time during the elections, a SEC official said.

Besides the new EVMs, the SEC will be using special ‘indelible ink marker pens’ after its success in last month’s (December 2011) municipal and gram panchayat elections in the state, Satyanarayan said.

The ‘indelible ink marker pens’ are manufactured by Kores India Limited exclusively for use in elections and are more convenient to transport to remote polling stations. Since there are no leakages or falling drops, these pens entail considerable savings through optimum use, Satyanarayan pointed out.

Polling for 27 Zilla Parishads is scheduled Feb 7 with counting of votes the next day, while the state’s top 10 municipal corporations including Mumbai shall vote Feb 16, with counting scheduled to start from that day.

Last week, opposition parties, including Bharatiya Janata Party and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena had demanded simultaneous counting of votes since the outcome of ZP polls could affect the voter sentiments in the civic corporation elections.

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