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Discrepancies in 347 LS seats poll data: SC issues notice to EC

Citing the data of a research conducted by a team of its experts, ADR said there were serious discrepancies between voter turnout data collated and provided by EC and number of votes counted

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Supreme Court on EVM

The Supreme Court has issued a notice to the Election Commission of India (ECI) on the pleas of two NGOs seeking a probe into alleged discrepancies between voter turnout and the number of votes counted in 347 constituencies during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.

A bench headed by Chief Justice S.A. Bobde tagged the plea of the two NGOs along with the pending matters and listed it for hearing in February 2020.

The plea filed by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) and Common Cause sought a direction to the Election Commission to formulate a robust procedure to investigate discrepancies in the data in all future elections.

Citing the data of a research conducted by a team of its experts, the ADR said there were serious discrepancies between the number of voters in different constituencies, that is the voter turnout data collated and provided by the EC and the number of votes counted.

It claimed that findings of the research revealed several discrepancies, including those in the master summary of 542 constituencies. Discrepancies were found in 347 seats.

The ADR said discrepancies ranged from 1 vote to 1,01,323 votes, which is equal to 10.49 per cent of the total votes. The plea further said there were six seats where the discrepancy in votes was higher than the winning margin.

The petition has sought accurate reconciliation of data before declaration of results for any election and a direction to the EC to bring in public domain the information in statutory forms — 17C, 20, 21C, 21D and 21E — for this year’s Lok Sabha polls and all future elections.

The petitioners said that in order to uphold and preserve the sanctity of elections, it is imperative that poll results are accurate and the discrepancies in the parliamentary polls cannot be set aside without a satisfactory resolution.

They said the current statute allows for resolution of a dispute through an election petition but there is no provision available for resolution of doubts arising out of discrepancies in constituencies all over the country.

The EC has not laid down any prescribed system for “compiling, reconciliation and publishing of poll data and therefore, has been evading placing the methodology followed by it in public domain”, the plea said.

It claimed that the poll panel neither shared the quantum of discrepancies encountered in the entire election process nor the methodology adopted by it for resolution of the same.

Election

Manoj Tiwari offers to quit as Delhi BJP chief

Manoj Tiwari, who was a key campaigner for the BJP in the run-up to Delhi elections, conceded defeat on Tuesday and said the party will evaluate reasons behind the loss.

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Manoj Tiwari

New Delhi, Feb 12: BJP’s Delhi unit chief Manoj Tiwari offered to resign from his post on Wednesday, just a day after the BJP faced a humiliating defeat at the hands of the Aam Aadmi Party in Delhi Assembly polls. The party, however, has refused to accept his resignation.

While it may be a reprieve for Tiwari, whose removal was being talked about ever since Tuesday’s election debacle, the BJP leadership is believed to be not in favour of a change of guard at the moment.

Informed sources told IANS that while refusing to accept Tiwari’s resignation, which was addressed to BJP President J.P. Nadda, the party leadership is said to have told Tiwari that a change of guard in Delhi will take place as and when “structural changes” are made in BJP’s Delhi unit.

The Delhi BJP unit has often been a problematic one because of the internal strife. While Vijay Goel has one set of followers, Tiwari has another set and so does Harsh Vardhan.

There have been demands within the party to remove Tiwari from the top post in Delhi for more than a year now. But then BJP President Amit Shah refused to entertain such demands with Delhi elections in mind, where Purvanchalis constitute a sizeable number. Tiwari often flaunts his Purvanchali origin as his political USP.

But after BJP managed to win just eight seats as against AAP’s 62 on Tuesday, the saffron party may seriously think of a complete rejig of the Delhi unit.

In fact, BJP President Nadda has convened a meeting on Wednesday evening to review Delhi poll results and to fix accountability.

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Election

Chacko quits as Delhi Congress in-charge after poll debacle

This is not the first time that Chacko has offered his resignation from the Delhi in-charge post. Last year also he had put in his papers, but was asked to stay on till the elections.

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PC Chacko

New Delhi, Feb 12 : Congress Delhi in-charge P. C. Chacko tendered his resignation from his post on Wednesday to party interim President Sonia Gandhi. The resignation comes a day after the party’s dismal performance in the Delhi Assembly polls in which it scored a zero.

This is the second resignation in the party following its complete rout in the Assembly poll.

On Tuesday evening, party State chief Subhash Chopra quit after owning the defeat. He said that he could not do much for the party, and hence was leaving the post.

This is not the first time that Chacko has offered his resignation from the Delhi in-charge post. Last year also he had put in his papers, but was asked to stay on till the elections.

After Tuesday’s poor showing, the rift within the party is now out in the open with the first salvo coming from Sharmistha Mukherji on Twitter, who said “we should shut shop” while attacking former union minister P. Chidambaram after he expressed happiness about the BJP’s dismal show in the Delhi Assembly elections.

The Congress, which ruled the state for 15 years, could not perform well in the elections, and the local leaders were quick to put the blame on the central leaders.

Congress leaders from former chief minister late Sheila Dikshit’s camp attacked Chacko over leaking a letter written by her son Sandeep Dikshit, a two-time MP, in which he had alleged that “Chacko was responsible for the death of the former Chief Minister, who was under immense pressure from the Delhi in-charge”.

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Election

Digvijay Singh raises EVM issue

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Digvijay Singh

New Delhi, Feb 11 Congress leader Digvijay Singh has raised the EVM issue as vote counting began in Delhi. Early trends showed AAP leading, BJP in second spot with Congress a distant third.

The former Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh said that EVMs are not tamper-proof and no developed country uses them.

Singh tweeted: “No Machine which has a Chip is Tamper-Proof. Also please do for a moment think, why no Developed Country uses EVM?

He has urged the Supreme Court and the Election Commission to look into the issue of EVM.

“Would CEC and Honourable Supreme Court please have a fresh look on EVM voting in India? We are the largest Democracy in the World, we can’t allow some Unscrupulous People to Hack Results and steal the Mandate of 1.3 Billion People.”

Digvijay Singh has emphasised that postal ballots should also be counted “If they match the Votes in the Counting Unit. Declare the result. If they don’t match then count the Ballots of all Polling Booths in the Assembly. It would convince every one and save time also as this has been the consistent argument of CEC in favour of EVM”.

The Congress which ruled the state for 15 years under Shiela Dikshit has been struggling to open an account in Delhi.

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