New Delhi: The political fervour goes high as all eyes are on the counting of votes of Assembly elections in five States including Uttar Pradesh, Goa, Manipur, Punjab and Uttarakhand on Thursday.
The elections occurred in 690 assembly constituencies in the above-mentioned five states. Further counting will also take place for the by-polls held in Majuli in Assam.
The counting of votes will start at 8 am with postal ballots. The counting of electronic voting machines (EVM) will commence at 8.30 am.
According to Election Commission (EC), 671 counting observers, 130 police observers, and 10 Special Observers will be on the ground to ensure the smooth counting process. Commission has also deputed two special officers- CEO Delhi to Meerut and CEO Bihar to Varanasi to supervise the counting arrangements.
All strong rooms are under three-layered security
EC said all strong rooms, where polled EVMs are kept, are under three-layered security with an inner cordon manned by Central Armed Forces. Concerned candidates have been watching the strong room arrangements through CCTV coverage of 24×7. In poll going States, District Administration has imposed sec 144 CrPC around the counting Halls to ensure that peace and tranquillity is not disturbed.
After each round of counting, tabulation of results in a prescribed format will be done. This will be signed by RO and Observer, and a copy will be shared with the candidates. After the announcement of the round-wise result, counting of the next round will be taken up as per extant instructions. Postal ballot results will also be shared in the prescribed format after obtaining the signatures of candidates’ agents.
Assembly elections were held in Uttar Pradesh from February 10 to March 7 in seven phases. Goa and Uttarkhand went to polls on February 14. Assembly polls in Punjab were held on February 20. Assembly polls in Manipur were conducted in two phases on February 28 and March 5.
Amongst these five states, BJP holds power in four States including Uttar Pradesh, Manipur, Goa and Uttarkhand. Further, there is a Congress government in Punjab.
Predictions by exit polls
In the 403-member Uttar Pradesh assembly, the majority mark is 202 and the exit polls predicted that the BJP is poised to comfortably return to power with its allies for an unprecedented second term with most of them stating that the party’s tally would be less than that in 2017 elections when it had scored a landslide victory. The Samajwadi Party (SP), which fought the polls with RLD and some other parties, would improve its performance, the exit polls predicted.
Exit polls predicted a clear victory for the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) in the 117-member Punjab Assembly with the scale of the party’s victory varying across various surveys.
Several surveys predicted Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP, which is in power in Delhi, getting a landslide victory.
The surveys also predicted that the ruling Congress will finish a distant second in the state followed by Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) which had allied with Bahujan Samaj Party. The BJP and its allies are not predicted to do well, according to the surveys. If the results come as per the prediction of exit polls, it will be the first time that AAP will come to power in Punjab.
The multi-cornered contest in Goa could lead to a hung assembly verdict, exit polls predicted with some of them putting the BJP ahead but some also stating that Congress would the single-largest party close to the halfway mark in 40-member state assembly.
The exit polls predicted a close race in Uttarakhand, with many of them giving an edge to the BJP to form the government. Some exit polls also predicted that Congress would finish ahead and could cross the halfway mark in the 70-member Assembly.
The exit polls in Manipur gave a clear edge to the ruling BJP in forming the next government with many of them predicting that it may fall short of the halfway mark. The majority mark is 31 for the 60-member Manipur Assembly.