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ECI releases absolute polling numbers for 5 phases, says ‘impossible to alter data’

Election Commission 1

NEW DELHI, MAY 25: The Election Commission released the absolute number of votes cast in the first 5 phases of Lok Sabha elections on Saturday, terming the allegations against it as a “pattern of false narratives and mischievous design to vitiate electoral process”. The Commission said that voter turnout data has always been promptly available through its app from 9.30 a.m. on the poll day of each of the phases.
In an official statement, the poll panel said that it feels “duly strengthened” by the Supreme Court verdict refusing to consider a plea to direct the Commission to publish final data on voter turnout in all polling stations on its website.
“This new format will include the absolute number of voters in each parliamentary constituency”, it said, adding that it is the Commission’s assurance to the public that any alteration in the number of votes polled “is impossible”.
The Commission’s remarks have come after the opposition questioned the delay in final voter turnout data release after 1st and 2nd phases of polling and alleged discrepancies in them by the poll panel.
Congress chief Mallikarjun Kharge claimed that the “credibility” of the Election Commission was at an “all-time low”.
The Commission, in response, reiterated that the entire process of collection and storage of votes is rigorous, transparent and participative. It further added that there was a “pattern of false narratives and mischievous design to vitiate electoral process”.
“The Commission and its officials across the States have been disseminating voter turnout data in the best possible manner, taking into account statutory considerations”, the poll panel said in the statement.
It also pointed out that authorised agents of all candidates possess Form 17C, which records the total number of votes polled at each of the approximately 10.5 lakh polling stations across 543 parliamentary constituencies. The Commission said the total number of votes polled recorded in Form 17C cannot be altered as they are available to all contesting candidates.
“Agents of candidates are always allowed to accompany EVM and statutory papers, including Form 17C from polling station till storage in a strong room as per Rule 49 V (2) of the Conduct of Election Rules 1961”, the poll panel noted, while adding that the candidate or his/her agents bring the copy of the Form 17C to the counting centre and compare it with the results in each round.
Voter turnout data from ECI:
Phase- I
Total electorate: 16,63,86,344; Votes Cast: 11,0052,103; Percentage: 66.14%
Total electorate: 15,86,45,484; Votes Cast: 10,58,30,572; Percentage: 66.71%
Phase- III
Total Electorate: 17,24,04,907; Votes Cast: 11,32,34,676; Percentage: 65.68%
Phase- IV
Total Electorate: 17,70,75,629; Votes cast: 12,24,69,319; Percentage: 69.16%
Phase – V
Total Electorate: 8,95,67,973; Votes Cast: 5,57,10,618; Percentage: 62.20%
(Courtesy: TNIE)