Counting of votes today, first trends by 9.30 AM

Wait is over, all set for D-day

New Delhi: Counting of votes, the grand finale in the nine-phased Lok Sabha elections, will be taken up tomorrow across the country and final results will be available by 4 pm.

Election Commission said the counting exercise to be held at 989 counting centres is likely to be completed by 4 pm and trends will start emerging by 9.30 am. By noon, a final picture could emerge on who would be the major players in the 16th Lok Sabha.

Ahead of the counting of votes, Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath said on Thursday that the large voter turnout was a result of “good” electoral rolls prepared by the poll authorities across the country.

He said “a lots of steps were taken to ensure that those eligible to vote find their names in the electoral lists.”

The exercise to add fresh voters was carried out even days before the first phase of polling was held on April 7. 8,251 candidates, including top guns Narendra Modi, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal were in the fray, in the largest-ever electoral exercise held in Indian history. While national parties — Congress, BJP, BSP, CPI, CPI (M) and NCP — fielded a total of 1,591 candidates, the 47 state parties fielded 529 candidates. While the over 1,600 registered but unrecognised political parties fielded 2,897 candidates, 3,234 Independents were also in the fray. The exit polls have projected that BJP will emerge as the single largest party.

The counting of votes will begin at 8 am when the postal ballots will be counted.

According to EC guidelines, half-an- hour after the postal ballots are counted, the process of counting votes from the over seven lakh EVMs will begin.

The ‘ballot unit’ is switched on in the presence of senior poll officials and counting agents of candidates and the result command keyed in to get results per machine.

These were the first Lok Sabha elections when the option of ‘none of the above’ or NOTA was introduced on the EVMs following Supreme Court directions.

Before NOTA button was installed on EVMs, voters had to fill up form 49 ‘O’ at the polling station which compromised their identity. Seeking to ensure transparency, EC has deployed micro observers at all counting tables. (PTI)