An extra round of counting was held here on Sunday for the Rajinder Nagar assembly bypoll as the close button of one EVM was found "not pressed", a senior poll official said. Steps were then taken according to the standard operating procedures laid down by election authorities, the official said.
Every electronic voting machine (EVM) has a "close button" which is to be pressed after the polling exercise is over, the official said. The counting of votes began as scheduled at 8 AM, and as per the plan, 16 rounds were to be held. "During the process of counting, in one EVM, it was found that the close button was not pressed, so it was set aside and, all the 16 scheduled rounds were first held.
"As per laid down standard operating procedures, the data obtained from the EVM was compared with the data recorded in Form 17C, which has the account of votes and other details. As it matched, votes lodged in this EVM were counted in a separate round," the official said. Hence, a total of 17 rounds were held and in case there would have been a mismatch in data, there is another SOP for that, he added.
Third-generation EVMs were used in the Rajinder Nagar bypoll. Aam Aadmi Party's Durgesh Pathak on Sunday defeated BJP candidate Rajesh Bhatia by a margin of over 11,000 votes in the Rajinder Nagar assembly bypoll here, officials said.
According to official data, Pathak polled 40,319 votes, while his nearest rival Bhatia managed to get 28,851 votes. The victory margin was 11,468 votes. Congress' contender Prem Lata could get only 2,014 votes in the bypoll. Of the total 72,283 votes in the final counting tally, 72,060 were polled through EVMs while 223 were postal votes, as per data shared by the poll officials. In the NOTA category, 546 votes were polled.
The bypoll to the crucial assembly seat had taken place on June 23 with a low turnout of 43.75 percent. Fourteen candidates threw their hats in the fray, which has largely been seen as a battle between a confident AAP and a spirited BJP. Of the total number of eligible voters for the bypoll, 92,221 are male, 72,473 female, and four belong to the third gender. Also, 1,899 voters in this assembly seat are in the 18-19 age group, according to the data shared by the office of the Delhi CEO.