New Delhi, May 2: The counting of votes for Assembly elections 2021 held in four States- Assam, Kerala, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal and in one Union Territory- Puducherry will start at 8.00 am on May 2. The Election Commission of India (ECI) has made elaborate arrangements for smooth and safe counting in 822 ACs in five States/UT and for counting for the by-polls held in 4 PCs and 13ACs across 13 States.
The Commission has designated 822 ROs and more than 7000 AROs for the purposes of counting in these 5 States/UT. Approximately 95000 counting officials including micro observers will perform the task of counting. The Commission has deputed approx. 1100 Counting Observers to watch the process of counting. Additional Reserve Counting Observers have also been deputed and placed to perform the duties in case of any pandemic related replacement. West Bengal Exit Poll Results 2021: Who is Winning Assembly Elections? Surveys Divided But Poll of Poll Numbers Predict Majority For TMC, BJP To Emerge As 2nd Largest Party.
Ahead of the counting day, Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra on Saturday reviewed the counting arrangements with senior officers of the Commission and the CEOs of five States/UTs in a virtual meeting. Chandra directed that all laid down instructions of the Commission must be adhered to. He also directed that all counting halls must be fully COVID-19 guidelines compliant. CEC complemented the CEOs for the successful completion of polling in challenging situations of the pandemic.
Earlier on April 28, the ECI had issued detailed instructions in view of the pandemic, in addition to existing guidelines/instructions related to counting. The counting will take place at 2,364 counting halls as compared to 1,002 halls in the 2016 elections, this amounts to a more than 200% increase in counting halls. This is in view of the Commission’s directions on COVID-19 safety measures/guidelines inside the hall and related measures that led to the substantial increase in polling booths and jump in the postal ballot.
The Commission has already banned any victory procession on April 27. It was also directed that banning victory procession would include any kind of procession by or congregation of supporters of victorious candidates anywhere in constituency(ies) beyond limits on number prescribed by concerned State/UT. The Commission has also directed the Chief Secretaries of all these States/UT to ensure that all directions of ECI and extant instructions of NDMA/SDMA concerning gatherings etc. in the wake of counting shall be complied with.
The ECI directions to ensure RTPCR/RAT tests for counting agents etc. are being complied with. As per the information received from the Chief Electoral Officers, contesting candidates have given details of approx.1,50,000 counting agents (including substitutes) in five States/UT by the stipulated time.
According to an official release, more than 90% of them have already been facilitated RTPCR/RAT tests. The remaining are being provided the test facility by the DEOs on Saturday. The Commission has also directed to accept test reports from any authorized lab. This is also being followed in by-poll PCs/ACs.
The media authorized by the Commission to cover the counting process is also being facilitated RTPCR/RAT tests etc. Approximately 12000 media persons have been given the authority letters to cover the process from counting centres.