LS POLLS: Counting of votes for 542 constituencies to begin at 8am Thursday; first trends to be available in 30 minutes after start of counting

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NEW DELHI: The counting of votes polled in all the Lok Sabha constituencies across India will begin at 8am on Thursday, May 23, and the official declarations could be expected by evening. However, information about trends, results and voting patterns will be streaming out of counting centres and relayed to the public via TV studios and radio stations from 8.15am. The overall trends will be clear in a matter of two to three hours. 

The results will be delayed this time, and will be announced after the VVPAT slips are matched for reassurance on the fairness of the results, from sample segments of each Lok Sabha constituency. Yet, trends would be disseminated  through EC portal,  from 8am onwards, states the EC. 

The victory of two principal contenders in this polls, PM Modi in Varanasi (UP_ and Rahul Gandhi in Wayanad (Kerala) is a foregone conclusion. 

An estimated 67 per cent of voters cast their votes for the 542 Lok Sabha seats, in a seven-phase voting process, the last of which took place on May 19. The 2014 polls had a near-66 per cent turnout. The Election Commission of India web site has not revealed the final computed figures of voting, and does not serve much of a purpose when it comes to handing out vital statistics relating to the present voting figures. Like every government entity, it is shying away from putting latest information on its web site.

Exit poll results — 10 in all — are unanimously giving the BJP a chance to return to power. The Opposition has rejected the findings, saying exit poll results had gone terribly wrong in several of the previous elections. BJP draws comfort from the fact that all the exit polls gave it a thumbs up in terms of return to power this time. 

BJP chief Amit Shah is holding a conclave of NDA allies on Tuesday.The UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi has called a meeting of alliance partners in the evening on May 23.

Opposition groups, led by Andhra Pradesh’s redboutable Chandrababu Naidu,  are holding a demonstration in front of the Election Commission seeking a complete comparison of VVPAT slips with the electronic machine results — something which the Supreme Court has rejected as impractical. The opposition alleged manipulations in the process, but the EC denied the charges outright. IHN-NN

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