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Counting of votes begins in West Bengal, Assam, TN, Kerala and Puducherry Assembly elections
New Delhi, May 2, 2021
Counting of votes began this morning in the elections held between March 27 and April 29 in four States -- West Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu and Kerala -- and the Union Territory of Puducherry.
Early counting trends are likely to be available within a couple of hours and most of the results are expected to be out by this evening.
Polling for the 294-member West Bengal Assembly was held in eight phases on March 27, April 1, April 6, April 10, April 17, April 22, April 26 and April 29.
Voting in the elections to the 126-member Assam Assembly was conducted in three phases on March 27, April 1 and April 6.
Polling in the elections to the 234-member Tamil Nadu Assembly, the 140-member Kerala Assembly and the 30-member Puducherry Assembly was held in a single phase on April 6.
Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra reviewed the counting arrangements with senior officers of the Election Commission of India (ECI) and the Chief Electoral Officers (CEOs) of the five States in a virtual meeting yesterday at which he directed them to ensure that all instructions of the Commission were strictly adhered to.
Apart from the counting of votes cast in a total of 822 Assembly constituencies in the five States, counting of votes has also been taken up in the bye-elections held for four Lok Sabha seats and 13 Assembly seats in 13 States.
Among other things, the Commission has asked the State CEOs to ensure that all COVID-19-related norms are followed at the counting centres. The District Electoral Officers have been made the nodal officers for ensuring compliance in this regard.
The Commission has already banned any victory procession or congregations of supporters of victorious candidates.
The counting is taking place at 2,364 counting halls in the five States as compared to 1,002 in the 2016 Assembly elections, mainly due to the implementation of COVID safety measures.
The Commission’s measures to extend Postal Ballot facilities to electors in the categories of senior citizen(above 80 years), persons with disabilities, COVID affected people and those employed in essential services has led to a 400% increase in postal ballots to 13.16 lakh in these elections as compared to 2.97 lakh in 2016.
The Commission has designated 822 Returning Officers (ROs) and more than 7000 AROs for the purposes of counting in these five States/UT. Approximately 95,000 counting officials including micro observers are involved in the task of counting of votes.
The Commission has deputed approximately 1,100 Counting Observers to watch the process of counting. Additional Reserve Counting Observers have also been deputed and placed to perform the duties in case of any pandemic-related replacement.