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Haryana: Postal ballots till Feb 27 to be counted

February 19, 2005 21:02 IST

The Election Commission has extended by four days its embargo on declaration of results in constituencies where postal ballots of army personnel are likely to be received back by 8 AM [0800 IST] on February 27.

"The Commission has already directed the returning officers to count all postal ballot papers that are received by 4 PM [1600 IST] on February 23. It has further directed them not to declare the results in any constituency where the number of postal ballot papers expected to be received back by 8 AM on February 27 might materially affect the results of elections and to wait for the declaration of results in such cases up to 8 AM on February 27," an EC statement said.

The EC statement said this arrangement complies fully with the Supreme Court's definition of 'material affect on elections'.

The commission had on Thursday advanced counting of votes in Haryana, which went to polls on February 3, to 4 PM on February 23 from the earlier schedule of 8 AM on February 27. The counting was scheduled to start after the last phase of polling in Bihar and Jharkhand.

The commission had also stated that postal ballot papers received back from voters by 4 PM [1600 IST] on February 23 should be counted by returning officers for compiling results.

However, following Haryana Chief Minister Om Prakash Chautala's outburst, the EC modified the order.

Chautala had on Friday launched a verbal onslaught on the commission saying its decision on postal balloting for the assembly polls in the state was against the law. He had threatened to take the matter to court.

The EC dismissed the attack by saying it was 'beneath contempt'.

The commission 'is deeply pained and anguished at certain remarks (of Chautala), which amount to character assassination and particularly the singling out of one of the members', an EC statement said in an obvious reference to Chautala's verbal onslaught against Chief Election Commissioner T S Krishna Murthy.


Complete Coverage: Assembly Elections 2005

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