Even as a team of Election Commission on Tuesday visited the Assembly secretariat for an inquiry into the controversial Rajya Sabha polls for two seats from the state, the Haryana Vidhan Sabha Secretary and RO said there was very “rare chance” of the pen provided for marking the votes being changed.
“There is very rare chance of pen being changed because it was tied. We also checked videography and saw no MLA took any extra or inordinate time to cast vote. Soon after the declaration of result, total record was sealed on the spot,” Returning Officer R K Nandal said.
Nandal said a violet sketch pen was provided by EC, only votes marked by it were counted valid. A total of 14 votes were declared invalid on the grounds that they were marked with ink other than that provided by the EC.
“Just before commencement of the poll, I clarified the procedure to the MLAs,” he said. Earlier on June 8, he said, he had written to all 90 MLAs making it clear that for the purpose of voting, “use only the violet sketch pen supplied by the RO”.
“We had clearly told them not to use any other pen, pencil, ball point pen or any other marking instrument as that will invalidate the ballot paper and will cause rejection,” Nandal said.
On an extra pen found in the polling area initially, Nandal said, “That was at the starting of the poll. May be some elector had kept it by mistake, but it was removed immediately. After that Assistant RO was put on duty there to check nobody leaves any pen even by mistake.”
The RO said Haryana’s Chief Electoral Officer and his team of officers today visited to the Vidhan Sabha secretariat and “held preliminary inquiry in the matter”.
He however refused to comment on what transpired between the Vidhan Sabha officials and the EC team. To a question, he said he cannot say which MLAs’ votes were cancelled.
“I can’t say of which party or members these (cancelled) votes were. I can’t say who were the members who put different ink mark, which was the ground on which votes were declared invalid,” Nandal said.
“This is something Election Commission officials can comment on,” he said.