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Ballot papers in 11 constituencies

Special Correspondent

HYDERABAD: The Telangana Rashtra Samiti's strategy of forcing the Election Commission to revert to ballot papers instead of electronic voting machines (EVMs) in the byelections is likely to pay off since a record number of 986 candidates filed nominations as independents till Friday, the last day.

Sixty-four is the maximum number of candidates' names that a control unit of an EVM can handle using four ballot units, each with 16 on its display board. Normally, only one ballot unit is used, unless the number of candidates exceeds 16. The TRS has strongly been plumping for use of ballot papers instead of EVMs, which, it alleges, can be tampered with. The EC had rejected the TRS' plea on Thursday asserting that the EVMs did not use an operating system and were standalone machines which could not be networked or tampered with.

On Friday, the TRS asked hundreds of supporters in 11 out of the 12 Assembly constituencies where it is contesting to file their papers, so much so that there were queues outside the offices of the respective returning officers.

Chief Electoral Officer I.V. Subba Rao told reporters after close of nominations that the EC had taken a “tentative decision” to use ballot papers for the polling on July 27.

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