Congress, opposition parties step up demand for voter turnout numbers

Why is BJP only party not asking ECI to release actual voter turnout numbers, asks Trinamool Congress

ECI says it attaches "due importance" to the timely release of voter turnout figures (photo: PTI)
ECI says it attaches "due importance" to the timely release of voter turnout figures (photo: PTI)


The Congress on Wednesday raised questions over the big difference between real-time voter turnout data and the final figures released by the Election Commission of India (ECI), and said voters are worried over the "strange goings on" in the poll body.

Congress leader and head of its media and publicity department Pawan Khera claimed the difference is around 1.7 crore votes, and termed it as unprecedented.

"Voters are worried about the strange goings on in the Election Commission through the four phases of voting. First, the Election Commission takes 10-11 days to bring out the final figure of voting and then the difference between real time data and final figure turns out to be 1.7 crore votes. This is truly unprecedented," Khera said on X. "Unanswered questions about the missing EVMs are also very worrying."

Congress general-secretary (organisation) Jairam Ramesh said, "This difference of 1.07 crore overall translates into an increase of 28,000 in each LS seat. This is HUGE. The discrepancy is maximum in states where BJP is expected to lose seats heavily. What is happening?"

Other opposition parties have also raised questions over the delay in release of final voter turnout.

The Trinamool Congress (TMC), for example, voiced concerns over the ECI "not releasing" the actual voter turnout numbers, and questioned why the BJP is the only party that has not sought this information so far.

In a post on X, TMC Rajya Sabha MP Saket Gokhale shared a copy of an application filed by him under the Right to Information Act on 1 May and said he has received no reply from the ECI.

Gokhale had asked the commission to furnish details of the total number of electors, total number of voters, and total turnout for voting in the 102 Parliamentary constituencies that went to polls in the first two phases.

Opposition parties had earlier raised the issue with the ECI, demanding that it release the actual voter turnout numbers for the different phases. Following this, the poll body had asserted that booth-wise data for "actual number of votes polled" is available through Form 17C given to candidates soon after voting ends.

Gokhale said while parties and candidates will compile Form 17C data, it is "very bizarre" as to why the ECI has suddenly refused to disclose these numbers, calling it "sinister" and saying it raises "many questions".

"Why is the Election Commission intentionally hiding voter turnout numbers? For the first time, the ECI has refused to publish data for the 'total number of voters' and 'total number of votes polled' for constituencies that have voted in Phases 1-5 during the current Lok Sabha Elections," Gokhale said in a post on X.

"I'd filed an RTI for the data on 1st May but there has been no response from ECI. For all Lok Sabha elections in the past, data of total votes polled was immediately published by the ECI," he said. "Why is the Election Commission hiding these numbers and refusing to disclose them? Also, why is BJP the only party that has not yet demanded this data?"

In a statement, the ECI had said it attaches "due importance" to the timely release of voter turnout figures after each phase of the poll, and said not just constituency, but booth-wise data of the actual number of votes polled is available with the candidates, which is a statutory requirement.

Lok Sabha polls are being held in seven phases and the results will be declared on June 4.

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