New Delhi: Counting of votes polled in the high-stakes Delhi Assembly election began on Tuesday morning amid tight security at various centres set up to carry out the exercise.
Exit polls have predicted a big win for the ruling Aam Aadmi Party, but the Bharatiya Janata Party leaders maintained that the surveys would fall flat. The counting began at 8 am and will be held in multiple rounds, Delhi Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Ranbir Singh said. "Elaborate security arrangements have been put in place. The exercise is being carried out as per the laid-down procedures of the Election Commission," Singh said.
Tight security arrangements have been put in place at various centres across Delhi, he said. "The postal ballots will be counted first till around 8.30 am and then the votes cast through electronic voting machines will be counted," the senior official said. "The counting centres are spread across 21 locations, spanning the 70 constituencies. Each centre has several counting halls, equal to the number of constituencies falling in that district," he said.
Each EVM consists of a ballot unit (BU), a controls units (CU) and a voter-verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT.) After counting of votes through CUs from every assembly constituency, five VVPATs will be randomly selected and they will be counted, the official said. The counting centres are located across 11 districts, including at CWG Sports Complex in east Delhi, NSIT Dwarka in west Delhi, Meerabai Institute of Technology and G B Pant Institute of Technology in southeast Delhi, Sir CV Raman ITI, Dheerpur in central Delhi, and Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Bawana in north Delhi.
The election, largely seen as a battle between the AAP and the BJP, was held on Saturday, sealing the fate of 672 candidates -- 593 men and 79 women. Nearly 24 hours after the polling ended in Delhi, the Election Commission on Sunday announced that the final voter turnout was 62.59 per cent, five per cent less than 2015, and asserted that it followed the laid down process to compile data, after the AAP questioned the "delay".
There were 13,780 polling booths where every vote was accounted for by the presiding officers, which is a time-consuming exercise, Sandeep Saxena, senior deputy election commissioner, said at a press conference on Sunday. Over 1.47 crore people were eligible to vote in the Delhi polls, including 2.33 lakh in the age group of 18-19. The turnout in the 2015 Assembly polls stood at 67.47 per cent. The AAP had routed rival parties in the last Assembly polls, bagging 67 seats while the BJP was reduced to mere three seats and the Congress had drawn a blank.