65.9% in 5 phases: Election Commission’s absolute data out, says no one can alter it : The Tribune India

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65.9% in 5 phases: Election Commission’s absolute data out, says no one can alter it

65.9% in 5 phases: Election Commission’s absolute data out, says no one can alter it

Facing flak from civil society groups over the delay in releasing absolute data on voter turnout, the Election Commission (EC) on Saturday, more than a month after the General Election began, released the complete numbers for the first five phases. - File photo



Tribune News Service

Animesh Singh

New Delhi, May 25

Facing flak from civil society groups over the delay in releasing absolute data on voter turnout, the Election Commission (EC) on Saturday, more than a month after the General Election began, released the complete numbers for the first five phases.

Poll panel has raised more doubts: ADR

ADR founder-member Jagdeep Chhokar said, “By releasing the data more than a month after the General Election began and without any satisfactory explanation, the EC raises doubts about why this data could not be, and was not, released progressively and phase-wise.”

The turnout after the culmination of the five phases stood at 65.9 per cent, which was slightly lower than 67.3 per cent recorded for the five rounds of polling in 2019, said the EC. The individual turnout for the five phases stands at 66.14 per cent, 66.71 per cent, 65.68 per cent, 69.16 per cent and 62.2 per cent, respectively. In 2019, it was 69.4 per cent, 69.6 per cent, 65.9 per cent, 69.5 per cent and 62.4 per cent.

Srinagar recorded the lowest turnout at 38.4 per cent, which incidentally was the constituency’s highest since 1996. The highest turnout in the five phases was 92 per cent in Assam’s Dhubri. Andhra Pradesh's Ongole and Chittoor seats recorded a high turnout of 87.06 per cent and 85.7 per cent. Outer Manipur constituency saw 85.1 per cent polling despite the state being in the grip of ethnic violence.

Among the seats with low turnout were Nawada (43 per cent), Hyderabad (48.4 per cent), Almora (48.7 per cent), Secunderabad (49.04 per cent), Rewa (49.4 per cent), Mathura (49.4 per cent), Ghaziabad (49.8 per cent) and Karauli-Dholpur (49.5 per cent).

The data, being sought since the culmination of the first round of polling on April 19, came a day after the Supreme Court rejected a plea by NGO Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) that sought directions to the EC to upload authenticated, scanned and legible copies of Form 17C, showing the account of votes recorded booth-wise after each phase. The SC had yesterday said the sixth phase was to be witnessed within a day (on Saturday), and that the “mammoth poll required huge human resources and it didn’t want to divert the poll panel’s attention in the middle of the elections”.

In its defence, the EC, while releasing the absolute data, reiterated that nobody could change the data of the votes polled, which was shared on the voting day with the polling agents of all candidates through Form 17C. It said the turnout data was always available with the candidates and 24x7 on Voter Turnout APP.

The EC said it had noted the pattern of false narratives and mischievous design to vitiate the electoral process. The ADR’s plea had been filed in the apex court amid protests by opposition parties led by the Congress, which sought the immediate release of the turnout data, for which they had even met top EC officials earlier this month.

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