Fortresses? No, just Mumbai counting centres | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Fortresses? No, just Mumbai counting centres

PTI | ByIndo-Asian News Service, Mumbai
May 11, 2004 04:16 PM IST

The centres have been turned into virtual security fortresses. The one at Vashi has been sealed with aluminium sheets.

Around 20 security personnel stand guard at any point of time. No one is allowed to go in without proper documents.

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HT Image

For inside six counting centres here are electronic voting machines (EVMs) in which the fates of Lok Sabha candidates from India's financial capital have been sealed and will be made known to the world on Thursday.

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The centres have been turned into virtual security fortresses. The one at Vashi has been sealed with aluminium sheets.

The security personnel guarding them shoo away curious onlookers and throw the rulebook at reporters. "Show your accreditation cards if you want to enter," said one.

Unlike earlier, there are no party workers around the centres this time. "Earlier, there used to be a fear that ballot boxes would be stuffed with (fraudulent) ballot papers at counting centres," explains a Shiv Sena supporter.

M.P. Lodha, a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislator from south Mumbai, said: "The mood is more relaxed because the EVMs are tamper proof."

S.S. Zende, an administration official, said: "Candidates were informed prior to voting that only one representative could be present at a counting centre per shift."

"Party workers visited the EVM centres in the first few days after polling but stopped thereafter, having seen the security set-up at each centre."

Millions of people had voted April 26 to choose six Lok Sabha members from Mumbai. Counting of these votes will begin at 8 a.m. Thursday.

The final result is expected at around 4 p.m. At any given time, 14 EVMs will be monitored in each round. Data on the number of votes polled by each candidate is taken down manually on a voting form.

The data will move from the additional assistant returning officer to the assistant returning officer and finally to the returning officer. It will be verified at each stage before the returning officer announces the final result.

Meanwhile, vacation judge A.H. Mohta of the Bombay High Court has refused to pass interim orders on a petition, which urged that "the entire election process be set aside because many voters could not exercise their franchise in Mumbai as their names where missing from the electoral rolls".

Justice Mohta said, "It would be inappropriate to pass any order as the election process was well under way and the Election Commission was getting ready to count the votes."

Unveiling 'Elections 2024: The Big Picture', a fresh segment in HT's talk show 'The Interview with Kumkum Chadha', where leaders across the political spectrum discuss the upcoming general elections. Watch Now!
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