New Delhi: Over 8,000 candidates were in the fray for 542 seats for the Lok Sabha elections and counting of votes will begin at 8.00 am on Thursday and results are expected only by late evening due to tallying of voter verified paper audit trail slips with EVM count for the first time.
Of the 90.99 crore electors, 67.11 per cent had cast their votes in the elections that took place in seven phases. This is the highest ever-voter turnout in Indian parliamentarian elections.
For the first time in a Lok Sabha elections, results of voting machines will be matched with slips generated by paper trail machines.
This system will take place in five polling stations per assembly segment which effectively means that out of nearly 10.3 lakh polling stations, the EVM-VVPAT matching will take place in 20600 such stations.
The Commission is yet to provide details on the number of counting centres being set up for Thursday, saying the data is not centrally available.
As per the usual proceedure, postal ballots would be the first to be counted. Service voters stood at 18 lakh (includes personnel of the armed forces, central police force personnel and state police personnel who are posted outside their constituencies).
The exercise of counting postal ballots manually will itself take a couple of hours at least,' said an EC official. The paper trail machines slips will be counted in the end.
It is decided that first the slips will be counted and the EVM displays would be switched on later to match the results. In case of a mismatch, the results based in paper slip count will be considered as final.
The entire exercise of EVM-Paper trail machine matching will take an additional four to five hours.
Of the 543 Lok Sabha seats, elections were held in 542 constituencies as the EC had cancelled polls to the Vellore constituency due to excessive use of money power. The poll panel is yet to announce a fresh date for elections in Vellore.