Bhubaneswar: The counting of votes for 21 Lok Sabha and 146 Assembly seats in Odisha will be held in 63 centres, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Surendra Kumar said on Tuesday.
Briefing mediapersons at his office here, he said each centre will have a total of 15 tables of which there will be seven tables each for the counting of Lok Sabha and Assembly seats and one for the returning officer who will oversee the counting.
The CEO said that on the basis of his recommendation for adding more tables to counting centres having more space, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has allowed 411 more tables for counting centres in the 22 districts of Jharsuguda, Sundargarh, Sambalpur, Deogarh, Keonjhar, Mayurbhanj, Bhadrak, Dhenkanal, Angul, Balangir, Nuapada, Kalahandi, Malkangiri, Kandhamal, Boudh, Cuttack, Jagatsinghpur, Khurda, Ganjam, Gajapati, Rayagada and Koraput. “Taking the total number of tables into consideration, the counting will be held in 2,462 tables,” he said.
Stating that the number of rounds of counting will be decided in accordance with the number of booths, the CEO said that going by the number of booths, the counting of votes for Sambalpur Assembly seat will be completed in 19 rounds while counting of votes for the Patnagarh Assembly seat in Balangir district will be completed in 49 rounds.
The CEO made it clear that counting of postal ballots will be held in the first place and after 30 minutes, the counting of EVM votes will begin. This will be followed by counting of VVPAT votes. “As per the directive of the Supreme Court, the counting of VVPAT votes will be taken up in five booths,” he said.
The CEO, however, expressed apprehension that there might be mock poll votes in the EVM control unit.
“Before actual polling, a mock poll is conducted in each booth. After the mock poll, the presiding officer deletes the mock poll data from the EVM control unit. In case the presiding officer has not deleted the mock poll data, there will be an error. In such cases, the ECI will take a call. Besides, if any candidate points out the error, the counting of VVPAT votes will be held, which will be decided by the returning officer under Section 56 (d) of the Conduct of Elections Rules, 1961,” Kumar said.