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Multi-layered, comprehensive arrangements put in place to ensure smooth counting of votes: Election Commission

All necessary preparations in Goa, Manipur, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand are being finalized for the counting of votes in respect of elections to the five Legislative Assemblies tomorrow. In addition, the counting of votes for the simultaneous By-Poll to Majuli Assembly seat in Assam will also be taken up together. The counting process will begin at 8.00 A.M.

The counting 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 Uttar Pradesh, Assembly elections for 403 seats were held in seven phases from the 10th of February to 7th of March.

Polling for Punjab Assembly elections were held in a single phase on the 20th of February. The State witnessed multi-cornered contest between ruling Congress, Aam Aadmi Party, SAD-BSP alliance, BJP-PLC alliance, and Sanyukt Samaj Morcha party.

Chief Electoral Officer of Punjab S Karuna Raju said that 66 counting centres have been set up in the State.

In Goa, polling was held in 40 Assembly Constituencies in a single phase on the 14th of February. This time, Goans will not have to wait too long for the results as the counting for all constituencies will be taken up in one go.  Goa Chief Electoral Officer Kunal said, counting will start with postal ballots at 8 a.m., while counting from EVMs will begin at 8:30 AM. He said, results are expected to start coming in by 11 am.

In Manipur, counting will start at 8 AM tomorrow. The main contest in the State is between ruling BJP and Congress.

While in Uttarakhand, Counting of votes for all 70 Assembly seats will start from 8 am tomorrow.

The Election Commission has completed all the preparations for the counting of votes. Security arrangements have also been made in which the local police will be deployed in the outer and central areas, while armed personnel of the Central Police Force will be deployed in the inner circle.

The Election Commission has banned all victory processions on or after the day of counting of votes for Assembly polls in these States. Not more than two people will be allowed to accompany the winning candidates to receive the certificate of election from the concerned Returning Officer.

Election Commission has said that 671 counting observers 130 police observers 10 special observers will be on ground to ensure smooth counting tomorrow. Briefing media in New Delhi, Deputy Election Commissioner Chandra Bhushan Kumar said, the Commission has also deputed two special officers, Chief Electoral Officer Delhi to Meerut and Chief Electoral Officer Bihar to Varanasi to supervise the counting arrangements in the districts. He said, elaborate and fullproof arrangements have been made at all the counting centres. Mr Kumar said, all strongrooms where EVMs have been kept are under three layer security with inner cordon armed by Central Armed Police Forces.

He said, concerned candidates have been watching strongroom arrangements through CCTV coverage 24X7. The Deputy Election Commissioner said, in poll going states, district administration has taken law and order measures including imposition of Section 144 CrPC around the counting halls to ensure that peace and tranquility is not disturbed anywhere. He said, political parties and candidates are involved at each stage related to EVM deployment during elections which includes opening and closing of EVM warehouse, first level checkings of EVMs and VVPATs and taking out of  EVMs and VVPATs for training and awareness after first level checking.

Mr Kumar said, the Supreme Court on 8th April 2019, in the interest of greater satisfaction of the stakeholders, increased the sample size of number of VVPAT slips to be matched with EVM counting from the then existing one poling station per assembly constituency or segment to five poling stations per assembly constituency or segment. He said, the above direction of the Supreme Court is being strictly followed by the Election Commission in every election. Mr Kumar said, in case of margin of victory is less than the number of postal ballot papers rejected as invalid at the time of counting, all the rejected postal ballot papers shall be mandatorily re-verified by the returning officers before declaration of result.

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