The counting of votes for Assembly polls will take place on October 22 as per the original scheme and not earlier, the Election Commission made it clear on Wednesday.
There had been speculation that the date may be advanced to October 15 or 16, that is, two or three days after polling on October 13.
“None of the political parties have demanded any change in dates; the demand, in fact, came from the media. All parties are keen to have it [the results] after Diwali is over,” Chief Election Commissioner Navin Chawla said, putting to rest all speculation.
On Wednesday, Chawla along with the two election commissioners, S.Y. Quraishi and V.S. Sampath, held review meetings in Mumbai, first with Chief Secretary Johny Joseph and DGP (elections) AN Roy and then with political parties.
“Advancing counting will also mean giving us less time to carry out re-polls in areas if needed. Our people take almost two days to reach certain rural areas, so we need sufficient time,” he added.
Chawla met members from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), Shiv Sena and the Congress, who offered their suggestions and put forth their grievances.
“The BJP and Congress have asked us for a single window system to grant permissions for rallies, campaigns, taking helicopters and for other election-related matters, which we are considering,” Chawla said.
The EC has also appealed
to parties to have members present during the one-hour mock session that takes place at every polling booth before the election process takes off on October 13.
Chawla gives clean chit to Roy
The Shiv Sena, in the meeting with Navin Chawla on Wednesday, raised the issue of the appointment of Roy as DGP, elections, stating he had Congress leanings and that the decision to give him charge should be reconsidered.
“We have explained to them that the decision was as per our protocol,” said Chawla. “Usually, the officer who is next seniormost to the DGP police is made in charge of elections. Last time, we had given charge to S. Chakravorty, when Roy was DGP. This time Roy is the seniormost after DGP S S Virk. Also, Virk is on extension and so he cannot hold the post.”