Maharashtra: One lakh electoral officials, 50,000 cops deployed for counting of votes today

Preparations in progress at the Mumbai North East constituency counting centre at Udayanchal Primary School, on Wednesday. (Express photo by Amit Chakravarty)

One lakh electoral officials and staff and 50,000 police personnel have been deployed for the counting votes on Thursday for the 48 Lok Sabha seats in Maharashtra, an election official said.

A total of 98,430 electronic voting machines (EVMs) were used for the four-phase polls in the state where counting will take place at 38 counting centres which will be supervised by 120 observers, an election official said.

Apart from the deployment of police personnel, the state police force has been asked to stay alert to maintain the law and order in the state, an official said.

The official added that various initiatives are being taken to ensure speedy results of the Lok Sabha polls. We will get an online update from all the returning officers for immediate updates after every round. We have set up 48 hotlines, one each in every Lok Sabha seat, and will also be in touch with the returning officers, the official said, adding that people can also get detailed results on the official website and the toll-free helpline numbers.

However, the officials said a plan to display the results on the 20 digital signboards of the traffic police has been dropped. It was being considered, but the proposal has been withdrawn as it would have impacted the traffic. But, the results will also be shown on the four digital signboards installed around Mantralaya, the official added.

The counting exercise for postal ballots will begin at 8 am, while that for EVMs will commence at 8.30 am. After the EVM results are declared, five VVPATs from each assembly constituency will be counted and tallied with the EVMs, an official said, adding that election staff have been given training for verifying the VVPAT slips.

Maharashtra went to polls in four phases on April 11, 18, 23 and 29 and a total of 867 candidates were in the fray. The voter turnout this time was 60.80 per cent, slightly up from 60.32 per cent in 2014, as per official data.

In Mumbai, the counting of votes for the six parliamentary constituencies will be held at three locations – NESCO Complex Goregaon, Udayanchal School in Vikhroli and New Sewri Warehouse in Sewri East. More than 1,500 officers and staff have been deployed in these locations, including CRPF, SRPF, QRT, RCP, said Mumbai police spokesperson DCP Manjunath Singe. There is also adequate police bandobast across Mumbai to maintain law and order. The traffic branch has also made additional arrangements to ensure smooth flow of traffic, Singe said.