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SC to address voter count plea on May 24

With the Election Commission of India (ECI) yet to release actual voter numbers for the five phases of the Lok Sabha elections, all eyes are now on the Supreme Court, which will hear the matter on May 24. Last week, the SC issued notice to the ECI in response to an application by the NGO Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR), which demands the publication of absolute vote numbers for all polling stations. The NGO also seeks a directive for the ECI to disclose the number of votes polled within 48 hours of polling on its website.

Jagdeep S Chhokar, founder of ADR, expressed his anticipation for the SC hearing. He stated that their application requested the ECI to upload scanned copies of Form 17C, which records the number of votes polled at each booth, immediately after elections. Chhokar believes that if the SC mandates this, the ECI will have to upload these forms for both past and future election phases. The hearing is scheduled just before the sixth phase of polling, with the final phase set for June 1. ADR’s 2019 petition in the SC sought a probe into discrepancies between voter turnout and counted votes in 347 constituencies during that year’s Lok Sabha election.

Opposition parties, including Congress, CPM, and Trinamool Congress, have also raised concerns about the delay in releasing final voter turnout numbers and have urged the ECI to publish total voter counts for each parliamentary constituency. Congress leader Pawan Khera highlighted a significant discrepancy of around 1.7 crore votes between real-time voter turnout data and final figures released by the ECI, calling it unprecedented. Jairam Ramesh, AICC general secretary, pointed out that this discrepancy translates to an average increase of 28,000 votes per Lok Sabha seat, questioning the integrity of the process, especially in states where the BJP is expected to lose seats heavily.


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