With the political parties and their nominees and independents keeping their fingers crossed not knowing how their fate is sealed in the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), the crucial counting of votes polled in the five State Assembly elections will begin at 8 a.m. on Tuesday (March 6).

The polls were held from January 28 to March 3 in Manipur, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Goa covering an electorate of 15.41 crore spread over 122 districts in 690 Assembly constituencies. While U.P. had a seven phase polls, in Manipur re-poll was held on Sunday (March 4) in nine Assembly constituencies.

The early trend is likely to be out within first two hours as initially the postal ballots will be taken up for counting.

In the outgoing Assembly, the Uttar Pradesh government is led by the BSP, Uttarakhand by the BJP, Punjab by the Shiromoni Akali Dal-BJP combination, Manipur and Goa by the Congress.

Meanwhile, Election Commission's Director-General Akshay Raut, commenting on the highest-ever voters turnout in the five States in the Assembly polls, hoped that this "revolution" will lead to "complete participation" in the coming elections.

Mr. Raut, who is also in-charge of the EC's Systematic Voters' Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) cell, said, "The EC is consciously feeling that this programme has converted itself into a participative revolution."

The participative revolution would increase further in the coming elections and EC was happy that the electoral management programme had given good results. Twelve States that went to the polls in the last two years had shown uniform increase in the voter participation, for which EC had worked on a number of programmes.

In the poll, U.P. witnessed an all time high of average 60 per cent polling. It was only 46.07 per cent in the 2007 Assembly poll and the highest voter turnout so far was in 1993 when 57.13 per cent voters cast their ballots.

In Goa the polling this time was 81 per cent when compared to 70.51 per cent recorded in the 2007 poll. In Punjab the polling this time was 78.57 per cent when compared to 75.45 per cent recorded in 2007. It was 67.22 p.c. and 63.96 p.c. (in 2007 poll) in Uttarakhand.

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