Parties hold their breath

New Delhi :  With just a few hours to go for counting, all the major political parties are braced for D-Day. The Election Commission is also all set to count some 550 million votes cast in the Lok Sabha polls.

Gone are the days when the votes were laboriously counted manually and TV viewers were treated to Bollywood movies on the day of counting. The data accruing from the nationwide counting centres would be updated on the poll panel’s web site after every five minutes. The first trends would start trickling in after 9 am and the big picture would be clear by 11 am. The counting at 989 centres across the country will begin at 8 a.m.

Buoyed by the exit poll results that have placed it as the front-runner in the crucial battle, the BJP headquarters were getting ready for a major celebratory exercise. Well-placed sources informed that halwais were busy rolling out 1.25 lakh ladoos (some 2500 Kg) for distribution once the numbers are known by Friday afternoon. The party has also planned a major show of fire-crackers at its 11, Ashok Road headquarters here.

The party’s prime ministerial aspirant Narendra Modi is scheduled to stay in Gujarat for the counting day and would be in the national capital on the next day for a meeting of the parliamentary board besides visiting Varanasi for a thanks-giving event.

Not to be left behind, the Congress, rated as a sure loser by the same polls, got its headquarters 24 Akbar Road ready for live television shows, putting up kiosks to enable the channels to establish a live-link to their respective studios.

But there was no end to back stage politicking with growing whispers that the Congress was getting ready for any game plan in its ‘stop Modi’ campaign. “We shall certainly move in, even if there is an iota of chance after the numbers become known,” said a senior general secretary.

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