Counting of votes for the Mumbai civic polls is unlikely to be held on the day of voting, February 16.
The BMC has sent a letter to the State Election Commission (SEC) listing practical difficulties in conducting the counting on the same day. It is likely that it will now take place on February 17, as the State Election Commissioner Neela Satyanarayan had said the decision on the same had been left to civic officials handling the polls in their cities.
Civic officials said on Friday that there were practical problems in taking up counting immediately after the voting. Half the polling staff — 20,000 of the total 40,000 — need to reach polling booths a day before voting day to check the condition of electronic voting machines (EVM) and other arrangements. In a city like Mumbai, transportation of the EVMs and the polling staff for counting immediately after the polling, as well as shifting of police personnel for security, is not an easy task.
About 35 polling booths are located across the creek like Gorai, Madh, Marve. “It is very difficult for these booths to transport the EVMs the same evening as election staff have to cross the creek for which they have to check the tide situation,” said Aseem Gupta, additional municipal commissioner.
However, he did not rule out anything categorically. “We are looking at options such as starting counting in half the wards on the same day but we have not decided yet,” Gupta added.
The civic officials also fear since counting process would go on for at least 4-5 hours, the results may be announced only late in the night, and could cause a law and order problem.