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Assam Elections: Grand Alliance Urges EC to Maintain Transparency During Vote Counting

In a memo to the EC, the Mahajot demanded that returning officers be directed to ensure video recording of counting tables and the process of carrying EVMs from strong room to counting hall.
Assam Elections: Grand Alliance Urges EC to Maintain Transparency During Vote Counting

Image Courtesy: The Economic Times

Guwahati: The Congress-led 'Mahajot' or Grand Alliance of opposition parties in Assam on Tuesday submitted a memorandum to the Election Commission (EC) urging it to maintain transparency and impartiality during the counting of votes on May 2.

The alliance, comprising Congress, AIUDF, BPF, CPI(M), CPI, CPI(ML) Liberation, RJD, Anchalik Gana Morcha, Adivasi National Party and Jimachayan Peoples' Party, urged the EC to direct all the returning officers to furnish table-wise details of officials engaged in the counting of votes to all the contesting candidates.

The parties demanded that the returning officers be directed to ensure video recording of the counting tables and the process of carrying the EVMs from the strong room to the counting hall.

They urged the EC to allow authorised agents of the contesting candidates to be in front of the strong room after it is opened and till the counting process is over.

The parties demanded that the returning officers be directed to furnish details to all candidates about the number of postal ballots issued, those received so far, absentee voters and their votes, the number of election duty certificates issued and those received.

The alliance members also demanded that directions be issued to all returning officers to count postal ballots, ballots collected from homes of absentee voters and election duty certificates before the counting of EVMs is taken up and also furnish the names and details of the officials engaged in these tasks to all the contesting candidates.

They urged the EC to direct all returning officers not to take up the next round of counting till a round is completed and recorded.

A copy of the memorandum was submitted to the Assam Chief Electoral Officer, Nitin Khade, in Guwahati.

Elections to the 126-member Assembly were held in three phases on March 27, April 1 and April 6. Votes will be counted on May 2.

AIUDF Claims '5-6 BJP Contestants' in Touch to Support Grand Alliance

Guwahati/Silchar: The All India United democratic front ot AIUDF on Tuesday claimed that "five-six BJP contestants" in the just concluded Assam Assembly elections have contacted the party promising support to the Congress-led Grand Alliance of which Badruddin Ajmal's outfit is a constituent.

Karim Uddin Barbhuiya, one of the around 20 AIUDF candidates who were flown to Jaipur last week due to fear of poaching by the saffron party, told PTI: "five-six BJP contestants have contacted me offering their support to the Grand Alliance".

Asked who the BJP candidates were, Barbhuiya, who is AIUDF general secretary said, "the names cannot be disclosed now. You will know after May two (the day) the results are declared".

The BJP has rubbished the claim.

To another query as to whether the saffron party candidates were from the Barak or Brahmaputra valley, the AIUDF leader said, "they are from all over Assam".

On being pointed out that BJP contestants if victorious support the Grand Alliance will come under anti-defection law, the AIUDF nominee for Sonai constituency said, "they will contest again".

 About media reports of 20 AIUDF contestants being packed off to Rajasthan a few days ago fearing horse-trading, Barbhuiya denied the reports and claimed they had gone there on "pleasure trip and to visit Ajmer Sharif Dargah for relaxing after hectic electioneering".

Saying he had returned to Assam Monday, the AIUDF leader informed the others would arrive in the state Wednesday.

About 20 candidates of the Congress-led alliance in the  Assam state polls were flown to Jaipur Friday with the party claiming it feared "horse trading" by the BJP.   

They were hosted at Hotel Fairmont on the outskirts of Jaipur.

 Meanwhile, on being contacted BJP chief spokesman Rupam Goswami strongly denied the AIUDF claim, asserting "none of our contestants have contacted the opposition party. Our's is  a disciplined party and its members do no contact other political parties    without informing our party leadership" "There is no question of contacting the AIUDF as our BJP will win the elections and form government in Assam again",Goswami said.     

Elections to the 126-member Assam assembly was held in three phases between March 27 and April six and results will come on May 2 along with other poll-bound states.                                                                                                                                           

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