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Counting of 55 crore votes to begin at 8 am

NEW DELHI, May 15, 2014, DHNS: 2:43 IST
 Preparations being made for counting of votes at Secunderabad on Thursday. PTI Photo
The wait for the outcome of the Lok Sabha polls will end on Friday, when the Election Commission will count over 55 crore votes in 989 counting centres across the country.

The counting will begin at 8:00 am and the trends would begin to trickle in by 9-9:30 am, Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath said on Thursday.

The mandate is expected to be clearer by noon although the EC officials said the final tally would come out late in the evening. Though the exit polls aired by several TV channels predicted a big victory for the BJP, Friday’s results will make it clear if the party and its prime-ministerial candidate Narendra Modi could really escape the proverbial slips between the cup and lips.

“To maintain utmost transparency during the counting process, the EC has deployed micro-observers at each counting table and instructed every Returning Officer to give printout of each counting round and of each Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) to the agents of the candidates,” an EC said.

The counting will reveal the performance of 8,251 candidates, who fought for the 543 Lok Sabha seats. Their fates were sealed in over 7,00,000 EVM in nine phases of polling, which started on April 7 and concluded on May 12.

The national parties have fielded 1,591 candidates for election to the 16th Lok Sabha. Altogether, 529 candidates of regional parties and 2,897 of the registered unrecognized parties are also in the fray, apart from 3,234 independent candidates.
The EC, which was accused of bias by the BJP ahead of the last round of polling, reviewed its earlier decision of allowing the Returning Officer (RO) and Assistant Returning Officers (ARO) to carry mobile phones inside the counting halls.
The poll-panel decided that neither the ROs and the AROs, nor even the candidates and their agents would be allowed to enter the counting halls with their cell-phones.
The only person, who is authorised to use a cell-phone inside a counting hall, is the EC observer.
DH News Service

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