Counting of votes has begun for assembly elections in Assam, West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. Counting began at 8 this morning. Assembly elections in these states and union territory were held from March 27 to April 29. Counting of votes for bypolls to four Lok Sabha and 12 Assembly seats in different states is also underway.
Trends and results will be available on the Election Commission website and will be updated every few minutes to display the current round wise trends and results of each constituency. The trends and results will also be accessible through the “Voter helpline” Mobile App.
In view of second wave of pandemic and with a view to ensure a completely COVID safe arrangements during counting, the Election Commission has rolled out strict COVID protocols for the counting day. The District Election Officer has been appointed as the Nodal Officer at each Counting Centre to ensure adherence to the COVID-19 related norms at the centre. Local Health Authorities have also been mandated to issue compliance certificate in respect of the Counting Centres.
As per the safety measures, no candidates or poll agents is being allowed inside the counting hall without undergoing RT-PCR or Rapid Antigen Test. However, those who have been administered both the doses of COVID vaccination have been allowed. The Commission has also prohibited public gathering outside the counting venue during the process of counting.
At the entry of hall, room and premises, Thermal Scanning of all persons are being carried out and sanitizer, soap and water have been made available.
No one having any symptom of COVID-19 like fever, cold are allowed to enter in the Counting Hall. Candidate will be allowed to appoint/replace the Counting Agents in case report is positive. Social distancing will be maintained inside Counting Hall. Seating arrangement of counting personnel and agents etc will be made as per COVID-19 guidelines of NDMA and SDMA. There will be sufficient number of PPE Kit for Counting Agents and Candidates. Masks, Sanitizer, Face-Shields and Gloves are being provided to every counting official and security personnel.
The Election Commission has already banned all victory processions on or after the day of counting. Not more than two people will be allowed to accompany the winning candidates to receive the certificate of election from the concerned Returning Officer.
In Kerala, the counting of votes in 140 constituencies has begun. AIR correspondent reports that postal votes courting began at 8 in the morning today and the votes in EVM’s will be counted from 8.30 am onwards. Counting is taking place in 633 halls in 114 centers across the state. In the present alarming covid scenario in the State all arrangements are done for the strict abidance to covid protocol.
All officials, media and political agents with negative RTPCR test are only allowed in the counting premises. As more number of postal votes are there this time, the final result is expected to slightly delay from last time. As just few hours are left to know who will rule Kerala for the next 5 years, all the three major front , LDF, UDF and NDA are equally exuding confidence that the mandate will be in their favour.
In Tamil Nadu, counting of votes began at eight this morning for all the 234 Assembly constituencies and the lone Loksabha seat of Kanyakumari. AIR correspondent reports that the fate of 3998 candidates sealed on the 6th of April will be decided today. Tamil Nadu despite covid situation had registered 72.81 percentage of votes. Postal ballots have been taken up for counting in the first round in all the districts. Till yesterday over five lakh 64 thousand postal votes have been registered.
A total of 16 thousand 387 people are involved in counting in 75 counting centres in the State. Security has been stepped up with one lakh police personnel on duty today. Election Comission has banned victory marches due to the pandemic situation, Political party leaders have also appealed to their party members to remain indoors and celebrate.
As election commission had allowed only covid negative persons on counting duty last minute changes had to be made by parties and officials as more than 400 persons had tested positive. CCTV cameras have been installed in all the counting centres. In each counting centre votes from four to five constituencies will be counted. 14 tables will be set up for counting votes for each constituency.
In Puducherry, counting of postal ballots is underway. AIR correspondent reports that the counting of votes, of 23 constituencies in Puducherry region is held in 3 centres here. In order to reduce the number of counting agents, the Election department has planned to count the votes in 3 batches of constituencies. i.e 8, 8 and 7 constituencies at around 10 am, 1 pm and 6 pm respectively.
Only the agents of 8 constituencies are allowed to assemble in the centre at a time. To maintain social distancing in the counting hall, the number of tables for counting in each hall is restricted to 5. Arrangements have been made strictly according to the Covid protocols. Face masks, sanitizers hand gloves and PPE KITs provided to the staffs.
All the 3 centres were sanitized yesterday. Around 1000 officials involved in the counting process and 400 policemen along with Central forces deployed here for security purpose. Apart from that a Health Officer is also available in each centre with an Ambulance for emergency medical care. The votes of 5 Constituencies in Karaikal, and each one in Mahe and Yanam are counted in the respective regions.