Counting of votes begins in five states
The counting of votes for the keenly fought Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa will begin at 8 am.
The counting of votes began at 8 AM for the 403 Assembly seats in politically crucial Uttar Pradesh that went to polls in seven phases.
"Counting of votes for 403 Assembly seats started at 8 in the morning. Counting of ballots will take place in all the 75 districts," state election office said here today.
Postal ballots were being counted first and initial trends are expected to be in by 9 AM. In addition to general observers, a micro-observer has been deputed at each and every counting table to keep an eye on counting.
Three-tier security arrangements have been made to ensure full proof security in and around the counting centres.
A total of 78 counting centres have been set up in the state. In three districts of Amethi, Azamgarh and Kushinagar two counting centres each have been set up and in the remaining 72 district, counting will be held at one place.
Additional CCTV cameras have been installed at vantage points from where the carrying of EVMs from strong rooms to the counting hall can be recorded for effective monitoring.
Uttar Pradesh had seven-phase polling that started on February 11 and ended on March 8.
Counting of votes for 60 seats in the Manipur Assembly began at 8 AM in 11 venues spread across the state.
The entire state has been put under tight security blanket and prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC have been imposed near all counting halls, officials said.
Elections in the state were held in two phases on March 4 and 8. Both phases witnessed record voting of 84 and 89 per cent respectively.
Chief Electoral Officer V K Dewangan said despite logistical difficulties due to the ongoing economic blockade elections were completed smoothly.
The counting of votes for all 40 constituencies of the Goa Assembly began at 8 AM today at two centres in Panaji and Margao.
The focus is on whether the BJP will be able to retain power and if it gets a fresh mandate, will Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar return to his home state as chief minister.
The fate of Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar, whose Mandrem constituency will be taken up for counting during the first round, will be decided within the first hour of the counting.
The postal ballots and votes polled by service voters will be taken up first before calculating the numbers on Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).
Tight security arrangements have been made with over 1,000 policemen deployed.
Election officials said the counting will be completed by 2.30 PM.
The votes for 19 constituencies will be counted at Panaji in North Goa, while the tally for the remaining 21 will be carried out in Margao in South Goa.
The elections held on February 4 witnessed an enthusiastic response of voters, with polling clocking in at 83 per cent.
The election has five former chief ministers besides the incumbent CM in the fray.
The Congress, the prime opponent of the BJP, has fielded four former chief ministers -– Digambar Kamat, Pratapsinh Rane, Ravi Naik and Luizinho Faleiro in their respective constituencies, while the NCP has given a ticket to Churchill Alemao.
The main fight expected to be between the Congress and the BJP, while the AAP has also put up a spirited fight on 39 seats.
The BJP has fielded 36 candidates, supporting Independents in Benaulim, Navelim, Priol and Velim. The Congress has candidates on 37 seats and has extended support to United Goans’ Atanasio Monserratte in Panaji, Goa Forward’s Vinod Palyekar in Siolim and Independent candidate Rohan Khaunte in Porvorim constituencies.
The BJP’s major worry is an alliance between the Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, the Shiv Sena and Rebel RSS leader Subhash Velingkar-led Goa Suraksha Manch (GSM).
In the 2012 assembly election, the BJP had won a majority with 21 seats followed by the Congress which had got nine seats, MGP three, Goa Vikas Party (2) while five Independent legislators were elected.
Chandigarh, Mar 11 (PTI) The counting process was underway today for the 117 Assembly seats in Punjab which witnessed a triangular contest with the ruling SAD-BJP combine, the Congress and the AAP putting up a spirited fight.
54 counting centers have been established at 27 locations for the 117 Assembly constituencies in the state, an official spokesman said here. He said that more than 14000 officials have been deputed in the counting centers across the state.
Punjab could be in for a neck-and-neck fight between the Congress and the AAP while the ruling SAD-BJP may face a drubbing, according to pollsters.
However, the SAD-BJP alliance is confident of defying the pollsters "like in 2012", when it proved the surveys wrong.
89-year-old Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal claimed the combine would win 72 seats. As for Congress, Amarinder Singh claimed it would win 65 seats and the AAP exuded confidence of bagging close to 100.
The state went to polls in a single phase on February 4 and recorded 78.60 per cent polling against 78.57 per cent in the 2012 polls. 1,145 candidates are in the fray, 81 of whom are women and one transgender.
SAD contested 94 seats and its ally the BJP is 23. The Congress has contested all the seats. The AAP and its ally Lok Insaf Party, led by the Bains brothers of Ludhiana, are fighting 112 and 5 seats respectively.
The SAD-BJP alliance had won 68 of the 117 seats it contested in 2012 to retain power for the second successive term.SAD had won 56 of the 94 seats contested and its ally BJP had won 12 of the 23 seats it contested.
The Congress under the leadership of Amarinder Singh managed to win 46 of 117 seats it contested in its bid to wrest power from the SAD-BJP alliance. Three seats had gone to Independents.
As far the vote share was concerned SAD got 34.75 per cent while the BJP got 7.13 per cent and Congress had got 40.11 per cent votes.
It was a record for the state when the SAD (with BJP) came back to power in 2012 as no party had ever been given two consecutive terms.
Since the reorganisation of Punjab in 1966, the Congress and the SAD have been ruling the state alternately. The SAD-BJP alliance formed the government for the first time in 2007 and retained majority in 2012.
Key constituencies whose results would be keenly watched include the Lambi seat, where the CM is locked in a triangular contest with Amarinder Singh and journalist-turned-politician Jarnail Singh (AAP).
Patiala is another key seat where Amarinder Singh is up against SAD candidate and retired army Chief General JJ Singh.
Jalalabad, considered a pocket borough of the ruling Badal family, has two sitting MPs-- Ravneet Singh Bittu (Congress) and comedian-turned-politician Bhagwant Mann (AAP)-up against SAD president and Deputy Chief Minister Sukhbir Singh Badal.
Veteran Congress leader and former chief minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal is fighting it out against Finance Minister Parminder Singh Dhindsa (SAD) from her traditional bastion of Lehragagga.
AAP’s Himmat Singh Shergill is fighting against Revenue Minister Bikram Singh Majithia from Majitha while Gurpreet Singh Ghuggi (AAP) is giving a challenge to Congress stalwart Ashwini Sekhri from Batala.
Navjot Singh Sidhu, who after several flip-flops had joined the Congress party, contested the Amritsar East seat against Rajesh Kumar Honey of BJP.
The CM’s estranged nephew Manpreet Singh Badal is trying his fortunes from Bathinda Urban seat on a Congress ticket while Indian Youth Congress chief Raja Amarinder Singh Warring is contesting from the Gidderbaha seat.
The results are crucial for Congress, which is seeking to wrest power after failing in the previous two Assembly elections fought under the leadership of Amarinder Singh.
Meanwhile, after witnessing a high-profile battle between political stalwarts-- BJP’s Arun Jaitley and Congress’ Amarinder Singh in 2014-- the Amritsar Lok Sabha by poll was overshadowed by the Assembly polls this year.
BJP has fielded 66-year-old leader Rajinder Mohan Singh Chhina, who is up against Congress’ Gurjit Singh Aujla (44) and Aam Aadmi Party’s Upkar Singh Sandhu (63).
The by-poll to Amritsar seat was necessitated after Amarinder Singh resigned in protest against the Apex court’s verdict on the SYL canal issue.
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