Stage set for counting in Andhra Pradesh

Hyderabad, May 15 (IANS): The stage is set for counting of 48.16 million votes polled in the simultaneous elections to Lok Sabha and Andhra Pradesh assembly, amid tight security Friday.

The Election Commission has made elaborate security arrangements for counting of votes at 168 centres in 79 locations.

Votes polled for 42 Lok Sabha and 294 assembly seats will begin at 8 a.m. State chief electoral officer Bhanwarlal told reporters Thursday that postal ballots would be counted first, and the electronic voting machines (EVMs) will be opened at 8.30 a.m.

The first result is expected at 10 a.m. while the entire process is likely to be completed by 5 p.m.

The poll officials have arranged 6,955 counting tables in 437 halls. As many as 25,000 counting personnel have been deployed. There will be one observer at each centre to oversee the process.

Representatives from Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL) and Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), the EVM-manufacturers, will be available at all the centres to attend to any technical problem.

Bhanwarlal said counting tables were arranged depending on the size of the counting halls. 

"Some counting halls have 14 counting tables, seven each for parliament and assembly, and some halls have 28 tables," he said.

The first result is expected from Charminar assembly constituency in Hyderabad as the counting will be completed in 13 rounds. Kukatpally assembly constituency, also in Hyderabad, will have 45 rounds, the highest in the state.

Among Lok Sabha constituencies, Malkajgiri will have 45 rounds while Anakapalle will have only 18 rounds.

The CEO said the results will be announced live through the website. The counting trends will be available at the end of each round on 

Elaborate security arrangements have been made at the counting centres. All liquor shops will be closed for 24 hours from Thursday midnight. 

In the elections held in two phases, 74.24 percent of total 64.88 million voters had cast their votes.

The first phase of the elections April 30 covered 119 assembly and 17 Lok Sabha seats in Telangana. Under the second phase on May 7, polling was held for 175 assembly and 25 Lok Sabha seats in Seemandhra.

As Telangana and Andhra Pradesh (Seemandhra) are set to be formed as separate states on June 2, the elected legislators will be allotted to their respective state assemblies.

For 42 Lok Sabha seats, 598 candidates were in fray while 3,910 tested their fortunes in the assembly elections.

The prominent candidates for Lok Sabha polls include central ministers S. Jaipal Reddy, Kishore Chandra Deo, Pallam Raju, and former central minister D. Purandeswari, who contested as a Bharatiya Janata Party candidate and Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) chief K. Chandrasekhara Rao.

The contestants for assembly elections include chief minister aspirants in Telangana - TRS chief Chandrasekhara Rao and state Congress unit president Ponnala Lakshmaiah. In Seemandhra, the candidates include chief minister aspirants - YSR Congress party chief Y.S.Jaganmohan Reddy and Telugu Desam Party (TDP) president N. Chandrababu Naidu.


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