Andhra Pradesh: Over 2,000 contenders’ fate to be decided today

As many as 119 observers have been deployed by the Election Commission for supervising the counting process.
All set for counting in Rayachot
All set for counting in RayachotPhoto| Express

VIJAYAWADA: The fate of 454 candidates who contested 25 Parliamentary segments and 2,387 contenders, who are vying for 175 Assembly constituencies, will be decided on June 4 (Tuesday) as counting is set to begin at 8 am.

As many as 3.33 crore voters exercised their franchise through electronic voting machines (EVMs) on May 13, while 4.61 lakh cast their vote through postal ballots.

While YS Jagan Mohan Reddy’s YSRC is hoping to retain power riding high on its five-year welfare regime, the NDA, led by TDP supremo N Chandrababu Naidu in Andhra Pradesh, has promised a mix of welfare and development, and is expecting the mandate in its favour.

In view of the poll-related violence that rocked Tirupati and Tadipatri in the faction-ridden Rayalaseema, and Palnadu region, security has been intensified across the State to ensure peaceful counting of votes.

Elaborating on the arrangements for the counting of votes across the State, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Mukesh Kumar Meena on Monday told mediapersons that a total of 401 counting halls have been set up at 33 counting locations. He explained that 2,443 tables for EVMs and 443 for postal ballots have been arranged for Parliamentary segments.

For Assembly constituencies, a total of 2,446 EVM tables and 557 postal ballot tables have been set up.

As many as 119 observers have been deployed by the Election Commission for supervising the counting process.

SP Harshavardhan Raju inspects security at Sri Padmavati Women’s University in Tirupati on Monday
SP Harshavardhan Raju inspects security at Sri Padmavati Women’s University in Tirupati on MondayPhoto | Madhav K

One micro-observer has been appointed for each counting table and two additional micro-observers have been appointed for each counting hall to assist the observer. Stating that sufficient number of counting supervisors and assistants have been deployed with 10% reserve, Meena said counting agents will be allowed at as many counting tables, including tables meant for counting of postal ballots.

The candidate can appoint one more counting agent to watch the counting process at the Returning Officer/ARO’s table in his or his election agents’ absence, he added.

Stating that mobile phones are not allowed inside the counting hall, the CEO advised counting agents not to bring mobile phones to the counting centre.

Explaining the precautions taken to ensure no untoward incident occurs, he said Section 144 of CrPC and Section 30 of Police Act will be enforced across the State. Additionally, victory processions will not be allowed. There will be a three-tier cordoning system at all counting premises to prevent the entry of unauthorised persons. The areas surrounding the counting centres have been declared as ‘Red Zone’.

A total of 1,985 sensitive locations in 26 districts of the State have been identified. On the estimated time to complete counting, Meena said votes will be counted in 27 rounds for Amalapuram Parliamentary Constituency in around 9-10 hours. For Rajahmundry and Narasapuram Parliamentary Constituencies, voting will be conducted in a minimum of 13 rounds in around five hours. When it comes to Assembly Constituencies, a maximum of 26 rounds will be conducted in Bheemili and Panyam, and time required will be 9-10 hours. Votes will be counted in a minimum of 13 rounds for Kovvur and Narasapuram.

Security measures

1,985: Sensitive locations identified

CrPC 144 & Sec 30 of Police Act enforced

Three-tier cordoning system at all counting premises

Red Zone: Areas surrounding counting centres

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