Opposition suspects foul play after altered poll statistics

Opposition suspects foul play after altered poll statistics

Opposition suspects foul play after altered poll statistics

The polling process in West Bengal came under question on Thursday after the EC issued altered statistics nearly 48 hours after phase 1 elections took place on April 4.

Reviewed statistics, which are making Opposition parties scream “foul play”, show a spike in 3-5% of polling at a number of booths in some constituencies.

The final voter turnout, released from the office of Chief Electoral Officer Sunil Kumar Gupta after the end of the day’s polling on April 4, stood at 80.92%. On Thursday, however, revised figures put the final percentage of April 4 at 84.22, nearly 4% more than earlier stated. Most political parties, barring the Trinamool Congress, have raised questions over the spike and found the time period of releasing such data “unusually long”. April 4 saw polling in 18 constituencies across West Midnapore, Bankura, Purulia and Burdwan. A second round of polling is scheduled for April 11 at Jungle Mahal, which traverses parts of these districts and is deemed “Left-wing extremism-affected”. Opposition parties feel Trinamool is engineering things from the realisation that it is not going to see a clean sweep as party leaders anticipated. CPM state secretary Surjya Kanta Mishra told reporters in Kolkata that the spike in figures “leave little doubt that there was foul play”.

The revised figures are making Opposition parties wonder about the presence of “ghost voters”, people who were unable to vote for various reasons and whose votes were cast by Trinamool workers, Congress state president Adhir Chowdhury said, while Mishra questioned the rise in four constituencies of West Midnapore, two in Bankura and one in Purulia. Experts pointed out that “such a rise” is possible only if the CEO’s office grossly miscalculated the figures on Monday or, if someone tampered with the electronic voting machines and cast votes after polling ended.

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