Mix-up halts Perambur bypoll vote count

Counting of votes for the Perambur bypoll was disrupted for nearly five hours because of complaints of a mix-up of the EVMs of Perambur bypoll and Chennai North constituency, at Queen Mary’s College on Thursday.

The issue was initially raised by booth agents of the DMK around 11.30 a.m. The DMK’s agents argued with the Returning Officer over the mix-up of EVMs at one of the tables where votes polled for the Perambur bypoll were being counted. This led to stalling of counting and caused tension in the counting hall.

Ironically, agents of the AIADMK later took over the issue and blamed the Returning Officer for favouring the DMK candidate. Chennai District Election Officer G. Prakash and Police Commissioner A.K. Viswanathan visited the counting centre and held talks with the protesting party members, and agents and the AIADMK Perambur bypoll candidate R.S. Raajesh were assured that counting would be stopped if similar problems recurred.

About half an hour after the counting resumed, the AIADMK candidate argued with officials and complained that the serial number did not match with the tag number of one of the machines. Counting was again stalled for about two hours and CISF personnel were deployed to ensure peaceful proceedings.

Additional Police Commissioner (North Chennai) R. Dhinakaran intervened and held talks afresh with the protesters. Mr. Raajesh and the agents were asked to leave the counting hall.

Foul play alleged

Mr. Raajesh alleged foul play through the mix-up in the EVMs. “How did the Makkal Needhi Maiam, which did not campaign much, get as many votes as the AIADMK,” he asked.

Counting resumed around 5 p.m. for the Perambur bypoll. By 8 p.m., the EC website listed that only three rounds of counting had been completed, and the DMK candidate R.D. Sekar was in the lead.

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