NEW DELHI: Counting of votes, the grand finale in the seven-phase Lok Sabha elections in 542 seats, will begin on Thursday along with state assemblies of Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim.
The Election Commission has made elaborate arrangements for smooth and hassle-free counting as well as for providing authentic and latest updates.
The counting will begin at 8 a.m. and trends are likely to start coming in by afternoon, while results are expected by the evening, an official said.
By evening a clear picture is likely to emerge on who would be the major player(s) in the 17th Lok Sabha and who all will be winners among 8049 candidates in the fray.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is contesting from Varanasi while Congress President Rahul is contesting from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh and Wayanad in Kerala.
Counting of Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System (ETPBS) and Postal Ballots will be taken up first.
Counting personnel will randomly select five EVMs from each Assembly segments for matching with VVPAT slips as directed by the Supreme Court.
There will be three-tier security in place with the outer cordon beginning 100 metres from the counting centre.
In a statement, the Union Home Ministry also said it has asked the states and UTs to maintain law and order, peace and public tranquillity.
"The home ministry has alerted the state chief secretaries and directors general of police regarding possibility of eruption of violence in different parts of the country in connection with the counting of votes tomorrow," the statement said.
The ministry said the states and UTs have been further asked to take adequate measures for the security of strong rooms and venues of counting of votes.
"This is in the wake of calls given and statements made in various quarters for inciting violence and causing disruption on the day of counting of votes," it said.
The central security agencies have received inputs that some organisations and individuals, particularly in Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Bihar and Tripura, have given certain statements which may lead to violence and disruption in counting process, an official said.
Lok Sabha elections were held in seven phases from April 11 to May 19.
(With input from agencies.)