* Fate of 76 candidates sealed in 9633 EVMs * ECI deputes 15 observers to JK LS polls 2014
Ahead of the counting of votes on Friday, the buildings housing the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) across J&K have been turned into fortresses. Officials said the Election Commission of India (ECI) has deputed observers to all six constituencies of the State to keep watch on counting scheduled to begin at 8.00 am.
For the past more than a week, the buildings housing 9633 EVMs have been enveloped under round-the-clock three-tier security.
On Friday morning the seals on the “strong rooms” where the EVMs have been kept would be broken in presence of ECI officials and counting agents to decide the fate of 76 candidates in fray for LokSabha Polls in Jammu and Kashmir.
“Once the machines are shifted to counting rooms under tight vigil the entire counting process would be video-graphed as per the Commission guidelines,” the official said, adding besides, observers and micro-observers from the Election Commission, representatives of political
parties and other officials from the Commission would keep an eye on the process.
Authorities have already fitted the buildings housing the EVMs with the CCTVs as a security measure.
For Srinagar-Budgam, Anantnag and Baramulla LS seats the counting would be held at SKICC, Degree College Khannabal and Degree College Baramulla respectively.
In Ladakh the counting would be undertaken at two places, Leh and Kargil. For Jammu-Poonch seat the Polytechnic College and MAM College, both in Jammu, would be the counting stations while as Kathua Degree College has been chosen for counting of votes for Doda-Udhampur seat.
The Election Commission has deputed 15 counting observers, two each for Srinagar, Baramulla, Anantnag and Ladakh parliamentary seats and three observers for Jammu and four for Udhampur, to keep an eye on counting process.
The Commission has set up three separate counting centers for counting of migrant votes at Jammu, Udhampur and New Delhi.
“The results will be decaled by the Returning Officers for each seat at headquarters of the main district of the parliamentary constituency,” said an Election Commission official.
Returning Officer for the Srinagar-Budgam parliamentary constituency Farooq Shah said they have kept eight rooms for counting of the votes for 15 Assembly segments of the constituency.
Shah said votes of eight assembly segments would be counted during the first round and the votes of the remaining seven segments would be enumerated during last round.
Another EC official said foolproof security arrangements have been put in place for the counting.
He said outside each building housing the EVMs, at the main entrance, barricades manned by police and paramilitary forces have been placed to keep check on the movement.
The five-phase parliament elections for the six parliament seats in J&K–two in Jammu and four in Kashmir including the Ladakh seat—ended on May 7. Of the 76 candidates in fray the known names are GhulamNabi Azad of Congress, Mehbooba Mufti and MuzaffarBaig of Peoples Democratic Party and Farooq Abdullah of National Conference.
J&K Chief Electoral Officer, UmanNarula, said: “Not only video-graphy and strict monitoring by the observers, a copy of results delivered by each Electronic Voting Machine will be provided to each election agent present on the counting station for cross checking.”