Mizoram NGO to meet EC for change in counting date; officials readying for Dec 3 results

Aizawl, Nov 27 (IANS) A six-member delegation of NGO Coordination Committee (NGOCC), an umbrella body of influential civil society and students’ organisations, would meet the Election Commission on Tuesday, even as the poll panel has already started its preparedness to count the votes of the November 7 Mizoram Assembly elections on December 3.

Official sources in Aizawl said that the NGOCC delegation, which went to Delhi on Thursday, would meet the Election Commission on Tuesday as part of its last-ditch effort to convince the poll panel to change the vote counting date, which falls on a Sunday.

Since the announcement of the election schedule for five states on October 9, all political parties, church bodies, NGOs, and civil society organisations in the Christian-majority state (87 per cent) have been requesting the ECI to reschedule the counting date — December 3.

Counting for the four other states — Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Telangana — would also be taken up on that day.

The ruling and Opposition parties and several organisations in Mizoram have been arguing that as a large percentage of the people in the state attend church services on Sunday, the vote counting should be rescheduled to another date.

In another development, following the request of the Mizoram Kohhran Hruaitute Committee (MKHC), a conglomerate of 15 major churches, all churches in Mizoram held prayers on Saturday and Sunday seeking divine intervention to reschedule the date of counting of votes.

In its letter to churches, the MKHC had expressed displeasure over no progress yet in the efforts to alter the date of counting of votes.

The NGOCC delegation went to Delhi after the state Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Madhup Vyas met with the ECI on this issue earlier. The ECI reportedly told the CEO that it will not reschedule the counting date since unlike polling, counting of votes does not involve common people who are free to do what they like on Sunday (December 3).

Media reports quoting officials said that the EC had deferred the date of counting in 2013 from December 8 to December 9 following appeals by political parties, civil society groups and churches in Mizoram.

Meanwhile, CEO Vyas said that a full-fledged trial for counting of votes would be held through the Encore portal on Thursday.

On December 3, over 4,000 counting personnel would be engaged in the counting of votes in 13 counting centres across the state.

Around 40 counting halls would be set up in different districts. All the EVMs are securely placed in the strong rooms in all the 11 district headquarters, officials said.

Director General of Police (DGP) Anil Shukla said that adequate security measures have been taken for counting of votes. Huge contingent of Central Armed Police Forces and Mizoram armed police would be deployed to maintain law and order and smooth process of counting of votes.



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