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Results for Delhi LS seats may get delayed by 4-5 hours

CEO Ranbir Singh attributes delay to extra time required for counting VVPATs

New Delhi: The results for the Delhi Lok Sabha seats may be formally declared around four to five hours behind schedule on May 23, Chief Electoral Officer Ranbir Singh said, attributing the delay to the extra time required for counting voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPATs). "From each of the 70 assembly constituencies, five (VVPATs) will be randomly selected and they will be counted for which there is a special VVPAT counting booth in every counting hall. It will take place in five rounds," Singh said.

Counting centre officials in Delhi will by this count have to tally a total of 350 VVPATs to cross check them with the EVM numbers.

Singh told the media that while trend will already be out, this process will delay the formal declaration by a few hours.

This comes a day after the Election Commission on Sunday had to conduct a repoll at one polling booth in Chandni Chowk assembly constituency, owing to a misstep by the Presiding Officer. The Presiding Officer had forgotten to delete the test votes, which are cast by polling agents of participating political parties before the actual voting begins. This was the only booth in Delhi, that saw voters having to get inked again. However, the repoll saw an eight percentage point dip in voter turnout, which Singh described as unsatisfactory. He said that the VVPATs from each of the 70 assembly constituencies in the Capital will be counted after the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) counting is concluded as per Supreme Court guidelines.

Delhi will have one counting centre for each of the seven parliamentary constituencies in the Capital. These will have one counting hall for each of the 10 assembly segments, officials said. In each counting hall, a maximum of 14 tables can be put and machines that would come in the first round, their results will be compiled and uploaded on the 'Suvidha' app.

The counting at 8 am will also commence with postal ballot counting. In the end, when two rounds of EVM counting will remain, the officials will have to ensure that the postal ballot counting is over.

(with agency inputs)

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