Reported by Chinmaya Dehury
Bhubaneswar, June 10:
After ‘technical error’ and then ‘clerical error’, the office of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Odisha has now come out with a fresh explanation for the gross discrepancies in the polling data provided on the official websites of CEO, Odisha and that of the Election Commission of India (ECI): ‘statistical error’.
“The discrepancies in the polling data between the Election Commission of India and CEO is mere statistical error, which happened after the counting of votes. We will sort it out within a few days. There were no vicious activities during the elections which could affect the electoral outcome,” said Odisha Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Mona Sharma here today.
She was reacting to a series of reports carried in odishasuntimes.com, which had pointed out glaring discrepancies in the number of votes shown as polled on the two websites in all 147 Assembly constituencies during the recently concluded Lok Sabha and Assembly polls in the state.
Asked about the opposition Congress and BJP knocking the doors of the ECI questioning the functioning of the CEO during the elections, Sharma said, “We are aware of it. As I told you, there were no vicious activities during the elections. The political parties were taken into confidence during the elections and the votes were counted in the presence of their agents.”
Unconvinced by the CEO’s laboured explanation, defeated candidates have decided to move the court asking how the so called ‘statistical error’ could occur in all the 147 Assembly constituencies.
In an exclusive report titled ‘Glaring discrepancies in voting figures in Odisha raise suspicion’ on May 31, odishasuntimes.com had reported that there were wide differences in figures between votes cast and polled on the CEO, Odisha site, ceoorissa.nic.in and the ECI website: eciresults.nic.in. The report said the difference in figures between the two sites was to the tune of a mind boggling 16, 000 + in some cases, enough to constitute the difference between winning and losing in tightly contested constituencies.
The leading Odisha based news portal followed it up with three more stories on the issue, one of which had to do with the sudden and as-yet-unexplained disappearance of the damning pages on the CEO, Odisha website three days after the first report.
After the series of reports, the opposition parties had moved to ECI demanding a high level probe into the irregularities and appointment of a team of experts to analyse the entire data on votes cast and votes counted in a free manner.
“I would urge upon you, Sir, to order a thorough inquiry as to how such blunders took place in almost all the 147 Assembly constituencies. There is something fishy about the whole thing. It has to be probed whether it happened due to EVM manipulation or something else,” said a letter of Jena written to VS Sampath, Chief Election Commission of India.
The state BJP followed suit writing a similar petition on the issue to the ECI the same day.