Non-deletion of mock poll data surfaces on eve of vote counting in Manipur
District Election Officer (DEO) Tamenglong, Hungyo Worshang, addressing the candidates contesting in Tamenglong constituency informed the control unit of 53/62 Makhuam (Marangjing) polling station to be kept aside during the regular “round-wise” counting to be held on Friday.
Updated 10 Mar 2022, 5:49 am
Letters purportedly written to candidates by election officers of two constituencies were doing the round in social media over non-deletion of mock poll data on the eve of counting of votes in Manipur.
Dismayed over the development, NPP candidate Janghemlung Pamei, contesting from Tamenglong assembly constituency, lamented over the manner in which the letter was issued.
In a complaint letter to the authorities concerned filed late Thursday, the candidate said, “The letter was not served to me but was made aware of it through social media at 9.30 pm of March 9 which is highly suspicious to have been backdated for unwanted reasons”.
He questioned how can action be initiated under Rule 14.5.1 based on mere allegations received and not based on verification? The diary and mock poll certificate should first be verified, he demanded.
The candidate further complaint that the letter was not issued by competent authority who is a returning officer but issued in the name of District Election Officer. It is requested to clarify who is the competent authority to issue such letter as per the rule, he said.
“I earnestly request you to clarify the matter at the earliest with proper verification before the counting begins tomorrow, March 10, 2022 to be included in regular round wise counting," the candidate said.
In the first letter, dated March 8, the District Election Officer (DEO) Tamenglong, Hungyo Worshang, addressing all the candidates contesting in Tamenglong constituency, informed that the control unit of 53/62 Makhuam (Marangjing) polling station to be kept aside during the regular “round-wise” counting to be held on Friday.
The DEO said that the reason behind this was owing to an allegation received by the office that mock poll data was not erased from the Control Unit (CU) which was assigned to the polling station.
“In view of the above, it is to intimate that the assigned CU for this particular polling station shall be kept aside i.e. this polling station will not be taken up for counting during the regular round-wise counting. After completion of all regular rounds of CU counting, the counting of votes for this particular polling station shall be as per the general instructions laid down under Rule 14.5.1 chapter of the Manual of EVM and VVPAT, edition 6 December 2022,” it said.
Similarly, another letter allegedly signed by Mayengbam Ranjeeta Devi, returning officer, 32- Wangkhem AC was also circulated in the social media, addressed to all the candidates, that the mock poll data in respect of polling station no 32/10 Kiyam Laithagol Leikai of 32-Wangkhem AC were not removed from the CU by the polling team.
As such, the RO said the CU of the above mentioned polling station shall be kept aside and the table allocated to such polling stations shall be kept vacant during the relevant round of counting.
The letter further informed that if the winning margin is more than the total votes polled in the polling station, this polling station will not be taken up for counting and the result will be declared without this polling station.
If the winning margin is equal to or less than the total votes polled in this polling station, in such case only the counting of the respective VVPAT paper slips will be done and the CU shall be discarded for counting purposes i.e the Control Units shall not be used for counting of votes, it said.
Even in cases where VVPAT paper slips pertaining to mock polls have not been taken out from the drop box of the VVPAT, the slips shall be counted and the candidate wise votes from mock poll certificates shall be deducted to arrive at the correct count of candidate wise votes polled, it added.
The RO in the letter further said that the VVPAT slip count result of this polling station shall be added to the Candidate wise tally and the final result compiled.
Nevertheless, in such cases, the CU will be discarded/not used for counting of votes. This polling station will be excluded from the random selection of five polling stations for mandatory verification of VVPAT paper slip count