New Delhi [India], May 2 (ANI): The counting of votes for the Assembly elections began in the four states- Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Union Territory of Puducherry adhering to COVID-19 protocols.
While Assam and West Bengal saw multiple phases of polling, electors in Kerala, Puducherry and Tamil Nadu cast their votes in a single phase on April 6.
The exit polls for the four states and a Union Territory predicted a clear victory for DMK-led alliance in Tamil Nadu, LDF retaining power in Kerala and BJP-led NDA in Assam and a tight contest in Bengal with several surveys giving an edge to the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC). In Puducherry, the polls predicted victory for NDA.
In Kerala, strict security arrangements have been made at the counting centres for the counting of votes for the assembly elections, Kerala State DGP Lokanath Behera informed on Friday.
"Strict security has been put in place in the state in general and at the counting centres in particular for the counting of votes.
On counting day, 30,281 policemen, including 3,332 central armed police personnel, will be on duty. This includes 207 DySPs, 611 inspectors and 2,003 sub-inspectors (SIs) or Additional sub-inspectors (ASIs). As many as 49 companies of central police forces have been deployed at 140 counting centres.
On Saturday, Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra reviewed counting arrangements with senior officers of the commission and the CEOs of Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal and Puducherry in a virtual meeting.
An official release said Chandra directed that all counting halls must be fully COVID-19 guidelines compliant.
"Contesting candidates have given details of approximately 1,50,000 counting agents (including substitutes) in five States/UT by the stipulated time. More than 90 per cent of them have already been facilitated RTPCR/RAT tests. The remaining are being provided the test facility today by the DEOs. The Commission has also directed to accept test reports from any authorized lab. This is also being followed in by-poll PCs/ACs," an Election Commission release said.
Counting will take place at 2,364 counting halls and 822 returning officers and more than 7,000 assistant returning officers have been designated for the purpose. The commission has deputed approximately 1100 Counting Observers to watch the process of counting.
The counting including for seats where bypolls have been held will start at 8 am on Sunday.
The EC has made elaborate arrangements for smooth and safe counting in 822 assembly constituencies in five States/UT and for by-polls in 4 parliamentary constituencies and 13 assembly constituencies across 13 states. (ANI)