Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra on Friday reviewed the Counting Arrangements of four States and one Union Territory through a virtual meeting.
Mr. Chandra directed that all laid down instructions of the Commission must be strictly adhered and all counting halls must be fully COVID guidelines compliant. Tomorrow counting in four poll gone States of Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu & West Bengal with one Union Territory of Puducherry and for bye polls held in other constituencies will begin at 8.00 AM in the morning. Election Commission has made elaborate arrangements for smooth and safe counting in 822 Assembly Constituencies in the 5 poll gone States and Union Territory along with for counting of the byepolls held in 4 Parliamentary Constituencies and 13 Assembly Constituencies across 13 States.
The Commission had earlier this week issued detailed instructions in view of pandemic, in addition to the existing guidelines related to counting of votes. As per the latest instructions candidates and agents will not be allowed inside the counting hall without valid report of RT-PCR or Rapid Antigen Test obtained not more than 48 hours ago before the commencement of the counting. Alternatively, those who have been fully vaccinated can produce their Vaccination certificates. The Commission has also banned any kind of victory procession in these states. The Counting will take place at 2 thousand 364 counting halls as compared to 1 thousand 2 halls in 2016 elections. The increase of nearly 200 per cent in the number of counting halls has been done in view of Election Commission’s directions on COVID safety measures. The Commission has also informed that this year the number of postal ballots in these poll gone 5 states & Union territory witnessed an increase of 400 per cent. It said, nearly 13 lakh 16 thousand postal ballots have been polled in the five states and UT.
The meeting was attended by the Chief Electoral Officers of the 5 poll gone states and union territory along with senior officials of the Commission.