State election commissioner (SEC) M M Modassir on Thursday turned down the request of the Goa police to postpone counting of votes of the elections to the Corporation of City of Panaji (CCP) to the day after polling. The police had made the request citing possible law and order problems in the city as counting would end after sunset.
Modassir said, “I received the letter on Thursday. Even if I had to receive the letter a week earlier, we could have changed the counting date. Now with just two days left, it is impossible. The timetables are set, duties are fixed, everybody has been informed and the government machinery is prepared to complete the exercise on March 13, the day of polling.
If we change things now, there is going to be confusion.” This is the first time in the country that counting of votes will be held on the same day as polling.
Police sources said the letter written by DIG Ravindra Yadav on Thursday drew the SEC’s attention to the fact that by the time counting will end it will be dark, and someone can take benefit of this and try to create trouble. The sources said the letter was written after a verbal request to the SEC to hold counting the day after the poll, was not agreed upon.
We anticipate trouble during counting as this is a closely contested election and emotions will be high on that day. We are making it clear to the SEC that despite the arrangements we would make, we may not be able to successfully control any law and order problems that may break out in the darkness,” a police official handling the security arrangements said. Police said there will be 30 winning candidates and many defeated ones and if any problem arises they will not have enough manpower to control an untoward situation.