Hyderabad: The returning officer (RO) will give two minutes to the contesting candidates in order to call for counting of voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) slips after completion of counting of votes lodged in the electronic voting machines (EVMs).
Chief Electoral Officer Rajat Kumar emphasised on Wednesday that whenever there was a discrepancy in the total count of votes between the EVM and VVPAT slips, the count of paper slips from the VVPAT machines will be held final. He said that recount of votes at any counting hall is at the discretion of the returning officer.
Mr Kumar said that any request for recounting has to be submitted in writing by the contesting candidates, election agents and counting agents during the time allotted for entertaining such requests by the returning officer who is vested with quasi-judicial authority.
The CEO said that any EVM found with the ‘close’ button not pressed will be set aside and the personnel concerned will inform the returning officer and observers present.
He said that the Election Commission of India will be intimated of EVMs of this nature for further action.
He said that results of every round of counting will be uploaded online directly from the counting centres through Suvidha, an upgraded and integrated portal.
“Only returning officers have been vested with the authority to make changes in the portal. Media centres have been set up at all counting centres and display of results will be made on electronic boards placed at these media centres and at the media centre at the office of the Chief Electoral Officer,” he said.
Mr Kumar said that security at all counting halls will consist of three cordons comprising state and central police forces, and carrying and use of cell phones inside counting halls is strictly prohibited. He said that groups of five to six mediapersons will be taken into the halls at specified intervals.
He stressed that cameras will not be allowed inside the counting hall even by agents. He clarified that hand-held cameras of photo journalists will be allowed inside the counting hall which will be under CCTV surveillance.
Mr Kumar spoke about various aspects of the process of counting of votes on Thursday for the Lok Sabha elections. He also provided clarity on the statutory regulations and guidelines specified by the EC....