Tamil Nadu Assembly polls | State braces for election results

Counting of votes to begin at 8 a.m. in 75 centres amid stringent COVID-19 protocol and security

Counting of votes for the 16th Assembly election in Tamil Nadu will begin at 8 a.m. on Sunday amid a stringent COVID-19 protocol and heavy security. Votes polled in the byelection to the Kanniyakumari Lok Sabha constituency will also be counted.

The counting will take place at 75 centres. The postal ballots will be counted first before the votes polled in the EVMs are taken up. So far, 5, 64, 253 postal ballots have been received, Chief Electoral Officer Satyabrata Sahoo said. Postal ballots will be received till the counting begins. After the postal ballots are counted, the votes polled in the EVMs will be counted at 8.30 a.m.

The State recorded a voter turnout of 72.78% in the April 6 polling, with 3,998 candidates in the fray. Nearly all exit polls have projected a victory for the DMK-led alliance. The party is aiming for a return to power after 10 years in the Opposition. The AIADMK hopes to retain office for the record third consecutive term.

There will be a minimum of 14 tables in each counting hall, with a maximum of 43 rounds. Three constituencies — Pallavaram, Chengalpattu and Tambaram — will have more than 40 rounds. The number of tables will also be more than 14 in some of the larger constituencies, according to the data provided by the Election Commission. There will be a total of 3,372 tables and 6,213 rounds (in all 234 constituencies).

More than 35,000 security personnel have been deployed across all counting centres. The Election Commission has directed the political parties to refrain from taking out victory rallies. The State will be under the total lockdown on Sunday.

The Election Commission has said all candidates and their agents will be allowed into the counting hall if only they have undergone RT-PCR/RAT tests and reported negative or taken two doses of a COVID-19 vaccine. It has also deployed reserve counting observers to replace the counting observers falling ill. The counting halls will be disinfected once in two hours.

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