Delay by Election Commission in releasing final voter turnout for Delhi’s polls was “absolutely shocking”: Arvind Kejriwal

New Delhi: Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday said that the delay by the Election Commission in releasing the final voter turnout for the capital city’s assembly polls held a day ago was “absolutely shocking”.
“Absolutely shocking. What is EC doing? Why are they not releasing poll turnout figures, several hours after polling?” Kejriwal tweeted, while his party alleged voter fraud by tampering the Electronic Voting Machines or EVMs.
Voting for the Delhi assembly election closed at 6 pm on Saturday. More than 24 hours later, the Election Commission said around 62.59 per cent of 1.47 crore eligible residents voted in the polls, compared to 67.5 percent in 2015. The data is usually released on the same evening of the election.
“Accuracy is very important, it was taking time to collate the data,” Delhi’s Chief Electoral Officer Ranbir Singh said.
After reporting unusually low voter turnout through most of the day on Saturday, the Election Commission reported a spurt in turnout and released provisional figures at the end of voting at 57.06 per cent though officials said the number was likely to go up in the final tally.
During the day, many also noted the sizeable difference between the figures being reported on the Election Commission’s smartphone application and those being released every two hours by the Chief Electoral Officer of Delhi.
Late into the night, Election Commission spokesperson Sheyphali Sharan posted a screenshot of the app at 10:17 pm – almost four hours after voting ended – saying that the “estimated” turnout was 61.43 per cent.
The disconcerting delay added to questions raised by the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on the security of EVMs. Releasing a number of videos, the party claimed that there were many reports of EVMs being taken away illegally to tamper with them. Election Commission officials have denied the charges.
Voting was held for all 70 of Delhi’s Assembly seats on Saturday, with nearly 2,700 polling stations and 13,000 booths set up across Delhi opening at 8 am.
Exit polls predicted that AAP, led by Arvind Kejriwal, will win a clear majority and be back in power, defeating the BJP which rules at the centre.
Rubbishing the exit polls, the BJP’s Manoj Tiwari claimed that his party would win the election with precisely 48 seats and said other parties should not make the excuse of EVM tampering for their defeat.
“All these exit polls will fail. Please save this tweet from me. The BJP will form government in the city with 48 seats. Please do not look for excuses and blame the EVMs (Electronic Voting Machines),” his tweet read.
Election results will be declared on February 11.