EC Responds To Congress' Allegation Of 'Mass Rigging' In Vote Counting System; INDIA Bloc Leaders To Meet EC Today

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, who presided over the meeting, said they would meet the ECI on Sunday "to discuss certain issues".

Congress treasurer Ajay Maken | Photo: X/@INCIndia

The Congress party has raised allegations of "mass rigging" during the vote counting process in the Lok Sabha elections as he said that the counting agents won't be allowed at Assistant Returning Officer’s (ARO) table for the first time but the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer of Delhi denied the claim.

Maken expressed concern over this issue, stating, "If true, this is bigger than the alleged EVM rigging! I am flagging this issue for all candidates!"

Replying to his post on X, the CEO of Delhi said, "It is clarified that Counting Agents of Candidates are allowed at the tables of RO/AROs."

“Many Thanks for this much-needed clarification. Your Returning Officers in Delhi were in denial mode till this morning,” Maken said to their response.

Congress General Secretary in-charge Communications Jairam Ramesh shared Maken’s post on X and called it “mass rigging”.

What Are The Responsibilities Of RO And ARO?

According to the guidelines set by the Election Commission of India, the responsibility of vote counting lies with the Returning Officer (RO), appointed by the poll body for each constituency which is ususally the District Magistrate of the relevant district.

The Assistant Returning Officers hold authority to oversee counting procedures, particularly in cases where an RO manages multiple constituencies.

Candidates have the right to designate counting agents to represent their interests at each counting place and table, as outlined by the Election Commission.

INDIA Bloc Leaders To Meet Election Commission On Sunday

Ahead of the counting of votes for Lok Sabha elections, a delegation of opposition INDIA bloc leaders will meet the full bench of Election Commission of India on Sunday.

Sources said the opposition leaders will discuss counting norms with the ECI, and also ask them to ensure that the laid down procedures are followed.

On Saturday, senior leaders of the INDIA bloc met in New Delhi to discuss their strategy for the counting day, even as the TMC and PDP skipped the meeting.

Congress president Mallikarjun Kharge, who presided over the meeting, said they would meet the ECI on Sunday "to discuss certain issues".

Opposition parties have asked their agents to monitor the process closely on the counting day on Tuesday, and ensure that form 17C, which contains the number of votes recorded at each polling station, is shared with them.