CHENNAI: Keen anticipation and anxiety marked the run up to counting day on Friday when the results for a tough assembly election would be out. Elaborate security arrangements have been made with the Election Commission deploying personnel of paramilitary force to man the 91 counting centres across Tamil Nadu, including three in Chennai. About 45 paramilitary companies each company comprising about 75 personnel will take position at the counting centres to ensure a smooth process.
“Everyone is ready for counting. District collectors have confirmed their check list of all activities on counting day. All central forces have been deployed. It will be a free, fair and transparent counting,” chief electoral officer Praveen Kumar told TOI. He said elaborate arrangements had been made to check malpractices and errors in counting. There was no need for any sort of apprehension about manual errors in counting or irregularities, he assured.
There would be a separate team for manual counting as well as for data entry to double check the figures before announcing the results. His statement came in the wake of certain political parties including AIADMK and CPM, alleging there were irregularities in data entry operations during 2009 Lok Sabha polls. “There would be a separate team for data entry and a separate team for manual counting. The results will be announced only after tallying both the data,” Praveen Kumar said.
And for the first time, the Election Commission has also planned to record the results of each and every EVMs through high resolution video cameras. Earlier, the EC had planned to use webcams but ditched the plan in favour of using video cameras in view of its better resolution.
Additional CEO A Amudha said all the cameras were hired by the respective district authorities only for the purpose of recording EVM results. Every constituency will have a maximum of 10 to 14 tables for counting. “So, more than 3,000 cameras will be used for the purpose,” she said. This time as many as 16,966 counting staff, including micro observers, will be involved in counting.
The counting process will begin at 8am when postal ballots would be counted first. EVMs would be opened half an hour later. The subsequent rounds of counting would be held only after the results of the previous round are announced. After ensuring the returning officer’s official confirmation, the next round of counting will resume.