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Pradeep Singh

After apprehensions were raised about fairness during the counting of votes, for the recently concluded three-tier Panchayat polls in Odisha, which begins tomorrow, the State Election Commission (SEC) on Friday issued fresh instructions to ensure smooth conduct of the entire process.

As per the SEC, in case of discrepancies were found between the ballot paper account prepared by the presiding officer and actual ballot papers in the ballot box(es), the actual ballot papers found in the ballot box(es) shall be taken into account and accordingly counting will be done and results announced.

Check SEC's new directions:

1. In case the number of Ballot Papers found in the Ballot Box(es) are more than the total number of voters in a particular Ward, the counting of Votes in respect to that Ward shall be held up and the matter shall be referred to the Commission for a decision. The result in respect of GP/PS/ZP Constituency shall be held up till a clarification is issued by the Commission.

2. In case there is a difference between the Ballot Paper Account and the actual Ballot Papers found in the Ballot Box(es), reference shall be made to the Marked Copy of the Electoral Roll as well as Presiding Officer’s Diary to ascertain the correctness.

3. In case the Ballot Paper Account and the actual votes found in the Ballot Box(es) do not tally to such an extent that the margin of difference between the candidate having polled the highest vote and the second highest is such that the result could be ascertained without counting the Ballot paper of the concerned Ward, then the discrepancy will be ignored and the result will be declared taking into account the votes polled in other Wards for the office of
Sarpanch/PS Member/ZP. Members as the case may be.

4. In the case of Ward Member, if the discrepancy is less than the margin of difference between the candidates having polled the highest vote and second highest, the result shall be declared.

The SEC further said that in all other cases related to the counting, which will commence tomorrow at 8 am, the matter may be referred to the Commission for a decision.

Meanwhile, counting for 315 Zilla Parishad zones will be conducted on February 26. Similarly, counting of votes for 307 and 229 ZP zones will be conducted on February 27 and 28, respectively.

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