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HindustanTimes Thu,25 Dec 2014

Punjab needs 117 observers for counting, has only 18

Gurpreet Singh Nibber , Hindustan Times  Chandigarh, May 08, 2014
First Published: 08:46 IST(8/5/2014) | Last Updated: 16:27 IST(8/5/2014)

The Punjab chief electoral office has asked the Election Commission of India (ECI) for 117 central observers, which for the first time oversee the counting of votes for the Lok Sabha seats. It has only 18 observers, so far.

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Earlier, the presiding officers used to supervise counting but on May 16, the central gover nment officials will do this job and record the entire process on video at 31 venues where the electronic voting machines (EVMs) are kept since polling in the state on April 30. For t he 1 3 parliamentary seats, the counting will be at 117 dif ferent desks, one for each assembly constituency, across these sites.

In spite of directions from the ECI to preserve the EVMs for each constituency at one place, the state CEO preserved these at 31 locations. Already, 1 8 central observers are in Punjab to over see the campaigning expenditure. Two each will over see counting in five sensitive constituencies ( Amritsar, Gurdaspur, Ferozepur, Bathinda and Patiala) and one each in the rest of the eight seats.

“We have asked for 13 more to have 31 main observers, each in charge of a separate centre. Besides, we will have 86 micro observers supervising assembly-constituency-wise counting,” said Punjab additional chief electoral of ficer (CEO) Raminder Singh. The results are expected to be out by noon.

The central government employees in the railways, banking, revenue services and other allied sectors will be micro observers. Before the machine votes, postal ballots will be counted. Central paramilitary forces (CMP) guard the EVMs kept in sealed strong rooms.

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