New Delhi: With the voting in the presidential poll over Thursday, the ballot boxes from 29 states and union territories will travel by air, rail or road to reach the Parliament House by Friday evening ahead of counting Sunday.
In fact, within two hours of polling ending Thursday, the ballot boxes of the national capital territory of Delhi reached Parliament House to be stored in the strongroom created in the counting centre in the building`s room number 63, according to returning officer and Rajya Sabha Secretary General V.K. Agnihotri.
Though a few other ballot boxes from state capitals nearer to the national capital will be brought to Delhi by road, a major portion of the sealed ballots from the 29 states and union territories will be brought to Delhi by air, flying commercial, according to officials connected with the presidential polls.
As per the Election Commission (EC) instructions, all assistant returning officers (AROs) from states and union territories with legislatures should "book a separate seat" for keeping the polled ballot boxes on the seat next to the seat occupied by the officer, who carries them to Delhi.
"They (AROs) should inform the airlines concerned well in advance so that seats are blocked for the purpose. Under no circumstances, the polled ballot box can be brought as a checked-in baggage and it shall be carried only as a hand luggage with a separate seat (adjacent seat) having been blocked for the purpose," the official said, quoting from the EC instructions.
The AROs have to deposit these ballot boxes, sealed and secured, before 8 p.m. Friday, the official added.
The officers bringing such polled ballot box have also been instructed not to book any luggage in the flight and carry their personal luggage also as hand luggage so that they need not wait at conveyor belt for collection of luggage.
The Rajya Sabha secretary general, who has been entrusted with the conduct of the presidential polls, has made separate arrangement to provide security to escort the polled material from airport and railway station to Parliament House.
The counting will take place from 11 a.m. Sunday and the results announced soon after counting ends.