Wednesday 19 September 2018

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Politics | Lok Sabha '99

EVMs and Comptuers played wonder, only in Goa

 

October 6… 8.12 am…the first news flash hit Nirvachan Bhavan in Delhi, taking everyone there by surprise !

It was a trend of results from North Goa (Panaji) constituency, sent from the local election office, after completing counting in one Assembly segment within 10 minutes….

The media centres at the counting halls were deserted, except Dilip Deshpande, correspondent of the All India Radio. First time in his life, he filed a clear-cut trend at 8.30 am, stating that the BJP is leading in five segments out of 19 in North Goa.

Ramakant Khalap, former union minister, conceded his defeat by 9.30 am when almost half of the segments were over. The journalists, planning to hang around there for the whole day, were just entering the media centre at that time…

By 10.30 am, counting of votes was over in all the 19 segments. The returning officer handed over official copy of the results into the hands of the media persons by 11.30 am. The South Goa results, having 21 segments, were out by 12 noon.

The wonder of three and a half hours was played only in Goa, thanks to the Electronic Voting Machines used for the polling and counting while fully computerised system used for compiling the data.

Goa had used the EVMs even in June for the Assembly polls, reducing the counting hours by eight hours. The counting personnel had to just press the button and note down the figures on the paper.

But still it took almost 12 hours to complete the remaining exercise – to calculate the figures, write it down on four different official forms and preparing the final sheet.

The local EC officials, with active co-operation from the returning officers, then flexed their muscles to make even the calculations easy, using computers. All the necessary formats of the four forms were then fed into the computers.

Each counting hall had a computer with the first three forms – 20 Part I, P07 and PO8, meant basically for feeding the data table-wise, detailed track of each Assembly segment and segment-wise voters divided among the various contesting parties.

The returning officer, after he receives the computerised output signed by the Assistant Returning Officer, was feeding the data into his form – Form 20 Part II, updating the segment-wise results of the Parliamentary constituency.

Obviously, this computerised method of calculations brought down eight more hours of manual labour. Calculation became a game rather than a headache.

Followed by the EVMs, the computers played a wonder in Goa, perhaps for the first time in the country… 






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