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  India   All India  23 May 2019  All eyes on counting centres as 17th LS results to be out today

All eyes on counting centres as 17th LS results to be out today

AGE CORRESPONDENT WITH AGENCY INPUTS
Published : May 23, 2019, 1:25 am IST
Updated : May 23, 2019, 4:52 am IST

NDA 2.0 or new govt? Fate of 542 new MPs locked in EVMs.

Election Commission (EC) officials said the counting of votes for the 17th Lok Sabha will begin at 8 am on Thursday and results are expected only by late evening. (Photo: File)
 Election Commission (EC) officials said the counting of votes for the 17th Lok Sabha will begin at 8 am on Thursday and results are expected only by late evening. (Photo: File)

New Delhi: The counting of votes for the seven-phase Lok Sabha elections, the world’s biggest democratic exercise, will take place on Thursday, bringing the curtains down on a bitterly-fought contest which the country rarely witnessed.

Election Commission (EC) officials said the counting of votes for the 17th Lok Sabha will begin at 8 am on Thursday and results are expected only by late evening. Over 8,049 candidates were in the fray for 542 seats.

Most of the exit polls have predicted that the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) is on course to retain power for a second term, riding on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s charisma like the way he swept to power in 2014.

Unfazed by the exit poll results, Opposition parties have begun making preparations, including readying letters addressed to the President, to stake claim in case the BJP falls short of a majority

Just hours before declaration of results, the Opposition parties suffered a setback with reports suggesting that the EC has decided to stick to its plan of counting the paper trail machines slips at the end of counts and not in the beginning as demanded by them.

The Opposition parties had approached the EC on Tuesday to demand that the five random VVPATs in each Assembly segment should be counted first so that if there is a problem or a mismatch, the entire slips can be counted from the beginning itself.

For the first time in Lok Sabha polls, the EC will tally vote count on EVM with voter verified paper audit trail slips in five polling stations in each Assembly segment of a parliamentary constituency. On April 8, the Supreme Court had directed the EC to increase random matching of VVPAT slips with EVMs from one to five polling booths per Assembly segment.

It will effectively mean that out of nearly 10.3 lakh polling stations, the EVM-VVPAT matching will take place in 20,600 stations. In case of a mismatch, the results based on paper slip count will be considered as final.

The entire exercise of EVM-paper trail machine matching will take an additional four to five hours, EC officials said.

The Commission is learnt to have also decided to count postal ballots simultaneously with EVM count due to the “sheer size” of ballots — 16.49 lakh — received this time from service voters.

The exercise of counting postal ballots manually will itself take a couple of hours at least, an EC official said.

The EC has also come up with a new IT based initiative, which will provide on its website real-time trends and results of the vote counting across the states/UTs.

The counting trends and results will be available on the EC website as well as on voter helpline apps. For the first time, the citizens can use a smart phone to know the results. They can use the available filter to find out details about winning/leading or trailing candidate, along with constituency-wise or state-wise results on the voter helpline app.

Voting for the parliamentary elections was staggered between April 11 and May 19 in which a record 67.11 per cent of the nearly 900 million eligible people exercised their franchise.

In the 2014 elections, the BJP won 282 seats while the Congress had suffered a severe drubbing getting an all-time low of 44 seats as against 206 it won in 2009.

From “Chowkidar Chor Hai” and “Bhrashtachari No. 1” to “Khaki underwear”, acerbic remarks ruled the roost this election season, making it one of the most bitterly-contested parliamentary polls since Independence.

Out of the 543 Lok Sabha seats, elections were held in 542 constituencies as the EC had cancelled polls to the Vellore constituency on the ground of excessive use of money power.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, several Union ministers, Congress president Rahul Gandhi, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and SP chief Akhilesh Yadav are among key leaders who contested the polls.

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Tags: 2019 lok sabha elections, election commission, 2019 election results
Location: India, Delhi, New Delhi