Congress Alleges Telangana Booth Capture Citing ‘Spike’ After 5 pm

Congress has written to the EC alleging that 5.26% polling in 17 constituencies in Telangana took place after 5 pm.

3 min read
Election Polling Percentage: The Congress has written to the EC alleging that 5.26% polling in 17 constituencies in Telangana took place after 5 pm.

The Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC), a state unit of the Congress party, wrote to the Election Commission on Wednesday, 1 May, raising concern over the percentage of votes polled during the Lok Sabha elections after 5 pm.

The letter, written by TPCC chairperson Marri Shashidhar Reddy, says there was an “unusual increase in the percentage of polling after 5 pm” on 11 April 2019, polling day, in 17 parliamentary constituencies in Telangana.

Three significant observations are made in the letter:

  • The average percentage of votes polled till 5 pm in the 17 constituencies was 59.08%.
  • The average percentage of votes at the end of polling in all 17 constituencies was 64.32%.
  • An overall increase in percentage of votes after 5 pm was close to 5.26%.

Too tired to read? Listen to the story.

Total number of votes polled after 5 pm in all 17 constituencies was 15,36,784, which means 90,399 votes per constituency. Approximately, that is 130 votes or less per polling station.   

One may argue, why vote percentage after 5 pm is a concern, because vote percentage could’ve increased due to a long queue of people at 5 pm.

“We had a meeting with the EC today (3 May), they admitted that this kind of voting after 5 pm is unprecedented and that it never happened in previous Lok Sabha elections.”   
Marri Shashidhar Reddy, Chairperson, TPCC

The Quint spoke to a consultant at the EC to deep dive into the matter, he said:

“It is strange that so many people voted after 5 pm. As per the rule, a slip with the number is handed over to the people standing the queue at 5 pm, so that people holding a slip is only allowed to vote. Anyone who comes later is not allowed.”

Interestingly, of 17 constituencies, only in Chevella constituency the percentage of vote polled after 5 pm is in negative, which is -0.58 percent.

“The number of votes after 5 pm can only increase and not decrease. The EC failed to explain us the reason behind.”
Marri Shashidhar Reddy, Chairperson, TPCC  

Does this mean that some polling booths were captured in Telangana? And if so, then why no polling agent raised an alarm?

“Most of the polling agents are not trained. At 5 pm, the agents are more than happy to collect the details and leave, they don’t care what happens after that. Right now, we have requested the EC to share data of polling booths of the 17 constituencies. Once we get all the data in hand, we challenge it to the right authority.”
Marri Shashidhar Reddy, Chairperson, TPCC  

Experts say that it takes 12 seconds to cast one vote in an EVM, which means roughly 300 votes can be cast in one hour.

Why TPCC Waited For 2 Weeks To Inform EC?

The Lok Sabha polling in 17 Telangana constituencies took place on 11 April. Then why did the TPCC inform the EC 15 days later?

To this, Reddy said:

“We started working on this matter immediately after the final voting percentage was declared on 12 April. We sought some information from the EC on 16 April via email, which we haven’t received till date. Then, on 22 April, we requested the EC to provide us the total number of electors in the 17 constituencies. We received the reply on 30 April, based on which we wrote this letter.”
Marri Shashidhar Reddy, Chairperson, TPCC  

The letter also points that in the state Assembly elections in Telangana in December 2018, similar issues came to light, but nothing happened. The letter says:

“After the polling, it was announced that the polling percentage at 5 pm was 67 percent. Then there was a significant increase of 6.20 percent when the final percentage was announced by the EC, as 73.20 percent.”

The EC has assured Reddy that they will share the polling data of the 17 constituencies at the earliest. The Quint has also written to the EC for a response, and shall update this article as and when we get the reply.

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