Elaborate arrangements made for the process which will decide the fate of 6,679 candidates

The Election Commission has made elaborate arrangements for the counting of votes polled in the Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Assam, West Bengal and the Union Territory of Puducherry, and in the by-elections held for the Kadapa Lok Sabha and Pulivendula Assembly constituencies in Andhra Pradesh. The polls were held between April 4 and May 10.

Within the first few hours of counting, the trend is likely to be out. The process, scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. before the watchful eyes of the Commission's 701 observers and agents of the political parties, will decide the fate of 6,679 candidates who contested in the mini-general elections. About 14.16 crore voters (nearly 20 per cent of the total electors in India) participated in the elections in the four States and Puducherry.

Officials have to count votes recorded on 2,00,157 electronic voting machines. First, they will take up counting of postal ballots cast by services voters.

Commission sources said altogether 43,982 counting personnel will be involved in the job. To ensure that everything goes well and peacefully, a huge posse of security personnel, including 177 companies of the Central police forces, has been deployed.

Altogether, there will be 839 counting halls at 294 places in the four States and Puducherry.

Websites

To enable people to know the trends and results, the Commission will upload the particulars after 8 a.m. on the websites: eciresults.nic.in and eciresults.ap.nic.in.

West Bengal has a 294-member Assembly, Tamil Nadu 234, Kerala 140, Assam 126, while in Puducherry the Assembly's strength is 30.

The entire counting process will be videographed and also recorded through web cameras and transmitted to the headquarters online to ensure transparency.

Two additional micro-observers will be deployed along with the Observer. While one micro-observer will watch data entry in the computer, the other will tally the hardcopy (printout) from the computer with the original 17C part B received from the counting table.

The Observer and the Returning Officer have been asked to sign the compiled figures after verification. The results will be declared only after clearance from the Commission.