D-Day for State satraps as counting takes off

Counting will be held at 41 centres across the state, including four in Mumbai from 8 am onwards

Mumbai

The stage is set for Friday’s counting of millions of votes cast in 48 Lok Sabha constituencies in Maharashtra, including six in the country’s commercial capital Mumbai, officials said here on Thursday.  Counting will be held at 41 centres across the state, including four in Mumbai from 8 am onwards.  “We are absolutely ready and prepared for the counting process. We hope everything will go smoothly,” a top Election Commission official said. The votes cast in as many as 90,404 electronic voting machines (EVMs) shall be counted by around 25,000 officials across the state.

The officials indicated that major trends shall be visible by noon, but were not sure when the final results could be announced.  A total of 897 candidates contested the Lok Sabha election held in three phases in the state – April 10, April 17 and April 24.  Of the total electorate of 8.06 crore, 60.42 percent exercised their franchise.

Some of the prominent candidates whose fate would be known Friday include union ministers Sushilkumar Shinde, Milind Deora, Praful Patel, former chief minister Ashok Chavan, Congress general secretary Gurudas Kamat, state ministers Sunil Tatkare and Chhagan Bhujbal, senior Bharatiya Janata Party leaders like Nitin Gadkari, Gopinath Munde, Aam Aadmi Party’s Mayank Gandhi and Anjali Damania.

Police are maintaining tight security at all the counting stations since the past few weeks after polling was completed.  Mumbai Police Commissioner Rakesh Maria has banned any type of celebrations or victory rallies in and around the vicinity of the counting centres as a precautionary measure.

ELECTION TRENDS: Election officials said first trends in Maharashtra are likely to be available by 9-9.15 am. About 25,000 counting staff – 3,000 for the six constituencies of Mumbai alone – would be deployed. There are 90,404 EVMs in the state; there will be 84 tables in each parliamentary constituency for counting. In each Assembly segment, there will be 14 tables. At every table there will be a counting supervisor, counting assistant, micro-observer and a class IV government employee. The lowest number of polling stations 1,546 was in Mumbai South constituency while the highest 2,242 was in Satara.

For BJP, party is set to begin

Mumbai: Buoyed by exit poll predictions, Maharashtra BJP unit has prepared a giant cake and as many as 40,000 laddoos to distribute among the people after the Lok Sabha election results on Friday. “We have prepared as many as 40,000 laddoos and will distribute among people at CP Tank crossing. We have also prepared a huge cake with a lotus symbol and slogan ‘Ab ki baar Modi sarkaar’ decorated on it,” party spokesperson Atul Shah. He said giant LCD screens would also be installed to watch the results and as soon as BJP candidates are announced victorious, party workers will start distributing sweets. “We have been targeting to prepare 50,000 ladoos. By evening we will be able to get these laddoos,” he added. Shah said balloons filled with helium gas will also be released in sky “after the NDA gets majority to form the government at the Centre as a mark to congratulate Narendra Modi”.

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