Counting of votes in Assembly elections in Maharashtra, Haryana and Arunachal Pradesh will be taken up tomorrow and the ten-day long suspense over who will form the next government is expected to be over in a few hours later.

Considered the first crucial test of popularity for major political parties after the Lok Sabha polls, the elections in the three states were held on October 13.

The counting would start at 0800 hours in various centres under the strict vigil of the officials of the Election Commission, which has made elaborate arrangements to ensure that the exercise was carried out smoothly.

In a communication to Chief Electoral Officers of the three States, the EC has directed them to ensure that the result of round—wise counting of votes are immediately displayed prominently on block board inside the counting centre and announced through public address system.

The next round of counting should be taken up only after display of results of previous round on the black board, the EC directive said.

Stakes are high in Maharashtra, where there are several chief ministerial aspirants. Rivals Shiv Sena and its offshoot MNS are fighting for the same political space and the ruling Congress—NCP combine is aiming a hat-trick. There are 1,820 independents, mostly party rebels, in fray.

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