Steps in place for counting in Pathanamthitta

Counting tables at centres arranged in line with COVID-19 protocol

The anxious wait for the result of the high stakes battle for Pathanamthitta, fought across five Assembly segments, is finally set to be over.

With just a couple of days left for the counting of votes, the authorities have completed arrangements at the five counting centres here. According to officials, the counting tables at the centres have been arranged in line with the COVID-19 protocol.

The process will begin at 8 a.m on Sunday with the counting of postal ballots. Only persons who have completed the two-dose vaccination or underwent RT-PCR or antigen tests will be permitted to these centres.

The votes polled in the Thiruvalla Assembly segment will be counted at Mar Thoma Residential School at Kuttambuzha. The votes polled in EVMs will be counted in 16 rounds across 20 tables while seven tables have been set apart for postal votes.

In Ranni, where the votes are slated to be counted at St.Thomas College, votes in EVMs will be counted in 19 rounds across 15 tables while the postal votes will be counted across five tables. The votes polled in Konni will be counted at the Musaliyar Engineering College, Malayalappuzha, in 19 rounds across 15 tables.

The counting of votes in Aranmula will be held at Mount Bethani Public School at Kumbazha across 18 tables in 19 rounds. The counting centre for Adoor, set up at Tapovan Public School at Manakkala, will have 15 tables for counting the EVM votes in 21 rounds, besides five tables for postal ballots.

As part of ensuring the COVID-19 guidelines, District Collector Narasimhugari Tej Lohit Reddy on Thursday convened a meeting of political party representatives online. District Police Chief R.Nishanthini was present.

To ensure internet connectivity at the counting centres, the Collector has banned digging of public roads till the completion of the counting process. The action followed a complaint lodged by the BSNL against road digging works, which caused connectivity disruptions. Those violating this order will be prosecuted under IPC Sections 188 and the RP Act 1951.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission of India has appointed five observers for monitoring the counting process in each of the Assembly segments in the district.

The antigen test for counting agents, chief agents, and candidates are slated to be held in the district on Friday.

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