Delhi Chief Electoral Officer Ranbir Singh (Photo Credit: Twitter: ANI)
The Election Commission was in the midst severe criticism on Sunday after the poll panel delayed the announcement of final voter turnout percentage for the Delhi Assembly polls that concluded at 6 pm on Saturday. Explaining the reason behind the delay, Delhi Chief Electoral Officer Ranbir Singh said that it is important to ensure the accuracy. "Voter turnout data is submitted by returning officers who were busy throughout the night, then they became busy in scrutiny. It has taken a little bit of time but, in data entry, it is very important to ensure accuracy," Ranbir Singh said.
Addressing a press conference, Singh tried to ally all the fears as expressed by a section of political parties over delay in releasing the final voting figures for the Delhi assembly elections held on Saturday, saying “they did not want to speculate and wanted to give exact figures”.
“So, returning officers worked throughout the night to check data to ensure it is accurate,” Singh said while asserting that the delay was not unusual rather it was done in a good time.
He said there were more than 13,700 polling stations in the national capital and they had to add data from each station and ensure that every vote is accounted for. It is not matter of late or early as soon as the voting per cent was finalised, it was shared with the public, he said.
Earlier today, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal questioned the "delay" by the EC in giving the final voter turnout figure for Delhi Assembly polls, the AAP on Sunday said it was suspicious and asked if the poll panel was waiting for BJP office’s nod.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said it is "absolutely shocking" that the poll panel was not coming out with the figure several hours after polling got over. "Absolutely shocking. What is EC doing? Why are they not releasing poll turnout figures, several hours after polling?"Kejriwal tweeted.
The last voting percentage given by the commission on Saturday night was 61.46 per cent. The voting in the national capital to elect a new government ended at 6 pm on Saturday.
Hitting out at the Election Commission, Kejriwal’s deputy and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Manish Sisodia asked the poll panel if it was yet to receive the final voter turnout figure from the BJP office.
"BJP leaders are giving the voter turnout figures and on the other hand the Election Commission has not been able to give the final voting percentage 24 hours after polling got over," Sisodia said in a tweet in Hindi. "EC is saying they are compiling data. What’s going on? Are you waiting for the BJP office to give you the final figure?" Sisodia said.
At a press conference, AAP leader Sanjay Singh alleged that “something is cooking” and “a game is being played secretely”. “This is perhaps the first time in the 70-year-history of country that the Election Commission is not ready to release the final figure of voter turnout. The entire country and Delhi have been waiting for the polling percentage since yesterday,” he said.
Final polling figure of Lok Sabha elections is released on the same day, but in case of Delhi which has just 70 assembly constituencies, the poll panel is taking so much time to come out with the voter turnout percentage. It has been 24 hours but the poll panel is yet to release its official statement, Singh said, adding that EC should should tell why there has been so much delay.
Exit polls for the Delhi assembly election on Saturday forecast a comfortable victory for the ruling AAP. The Times Now-Ipsos exit polls predicted that Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will retain his chair with the AAP winning 44 seats against 26 for the BJP.
The Republic-Jan ki Baat survey gave the AAP 48-61 seats and the BJP 9-21 seats. The TV9 Bharatvarsh-Cicero predicted 54 seats for the AAP, 15 for the BJP and one for the Congress.
The AAP had scored an overwhelming victory in the 2015 polls, winning 67 seats and reducing the BJP to three. Congress had drawn a blank.
(With Agency Inputs)