All the necessary arrangements are in place as the counting of votes for the Lok Sabha elections, in which over eight thousand candidates were in the fray for 542 seats, will begin at 8 tomorrow morning all over the country.
The results are expected only by late evening due to tallying of Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail slips with count of the Electronic Voting Machines count. It is for the first time in the Lok Sabha elections that results of voting machines will be matched with slips generated by paper trail machines.
The exercise will take place in five polling stations selected at random per Assembly segment which effectively means that out of nearly 10.3 lakh polling stations, the EVM-VVPAT matching will take place in 20,600 polling stations.
As per procedure, postal ballots would be the first to be counted.Service voters stood at 18 lakh. These include personnel of the armed forces, central police force personnel and state police personnel who are posted outside their constituencies.
Diplomats and support staff posted in Indian embassies abroad are also counted as service voters. Out of 18 lakh registered voters, 16.49 lakh have already sent their postal ballots to their respective returning officers.
The paper trail machines slips will be counted in the end. The slips will be counted first and the EVM displays would be switched on later to match the results. In case of a mismatch, the results based in 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.
Meanwhile, a 24- hour EVM Control Room has been made functional at Nirvachan Sadan in New Delhi to monitor complaints relating to polled EVMs. The complaints related to storage issues at strong rooms, security of strong rooms, permissions to candidates to post their agents at strong rooms, CCTV monitoring, movement of any EVMs and any complaints during counting related to EVMs can be registered at the Control Room. The Control Room contact number is 011-23052123.
In all, 67.11 per cent of the 90.99 crore electors exercised their franchise in the seven-phase long polling process. This is the highest ever voter turnout in Indian Parliamentarian elections. Out of the total 543 Lok Sabha seats, elections were held in 542 constituencies as the Election Commission had cancelled polls to the Vellore seat in Tamil Nadu on the grounds of excessive use of money power. The fresh date for elections in Vellore is yet to be announced.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his cabinet colleagues including Rajnath Singh, Nitin Gadkari, Radha Mohan Singh, Ravi Shankar Prasad, Dr. Harsh Vardhan and Narendra Singh Tomar along with Shiromani Akali Dal President Sukhbeer Singh Badal and his wife and Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal; Congress President Rahul Gandhi, UPA Chairperson Sonia Gandhi, former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, former Chief Ministers Digvijay Singh, Sheila Dikshit, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, former Union Ministers Jyotiraditya Scindia, Pawan Kumar Bansal and Manish Tewari, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amrinder Singh’s wife Preneet Kaur; Samajwadi Party Chief Akhilesh Yadav and party patriarch Mulayam Singh Yadav are among the prominent candidates in the fray.