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All set for counting of votes in Andhra Pradesh

The counting of postal ballots and service votes will be taken up at 8 am, followed by EVM votes

All set for counting of votes in Andhra Pradesh
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Vijayawada: After a high voltage electioneering and an agonising waiting period, the results for Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly will start trickling in from 1 pm on Tuesday.

The election authorities on Monday said they are fully geared up to take up counting of votes by 3.33 crore people who cast their franchise in the simultaneous elections held for 175 Assembly and 25 Lok Sabha constituencies in the State on May 13.

The State witnessed a gruelling campaigning amid scorching sun by the YSRCP, its arch-rivals TDP, BJP and Jana Sena alliance and the Indian National Congress.

Chief Electoral Officer Mukesh Kumar Meena said on Monday that the results of the Kovvur and Narsapuram Assembly seats will be available in five hours. The Election Commission of India (ECI) has made arrangements to update on winning, leading, trailing status of candidates on its website and voters apps announced by it earlier. Prohibitory orders under Section 144 have been clamped at the counting centres. The counting of postal ballots and service votes will be taken up at 8 am. After this, EVM votes will be taken up for counting. Bheemili and Panyam Assembly segments have 26 rounds due to the large number of voters. Amalapuram parliamentary constituency will have 27 rounds taking a total time of nine hours to know the result. Rajamahendravaram and Narsapuram Lok Sabha will have 13 rounds. It will take five hours to know the result in these constituencies. Bheemili and Panyam Assembly segments will have 26 rounds.

In a related development, the Supreme Court rejected YSRCP's plea to reject the CEO's order for relaxation on rejection of postal ballots. The State has received nearly five lakh postal ballots, which will be taken up for voting first at 8 am.

ECI has appointed 110 observers for the counting of votes as many as 401 counting centres will be there at 33 locations. ECI has issued a handbook containing dos and don'ts for the officials posted on counting work. The officials have been instructed on how to seal the EVMs after voting.

YSRCP general secretary Sajjala Ramakrishna Reddy expressed his anguish over rejection of their plea to insist on allowing postal ballots only when the polling officer who attached votes, contains official seal or name, designation and other particulars on Form 13A. The ruling party has been alleging that there is scope for misuse if the polling officials' particulars were not available. Allowing postal votes with mere signatures may lead to wrong interpretation, alleged YSRCP Rajya Sabha member YV Subba Reddy.

As the majority of exit polls have predicted a clean sweep by the TDP-led alliance, the YSRCP has disputed it saying they are confident of their repeat performance. "Be ready for celebrations from the afternoon as we are confident of our victory," Sajjala told the media.

Santosh Patnaik
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