The Election Commission of India starts counting of votes in 542 parliamentary constituencies across India . Results are anticipated only by evening , EC guaranteed.

Buoyed by exit polls forecasting a sweeping victory for the BJP in Delhi, the party’s unit has already ordered foods like ‘motichoor cakes’ and ‘kamal barfis’, one day before counting of votes for the Lok Sabha polls on Thursday.

Delhi BJP president Manoj Tiwari, saying the party’s victory on all seven Lok Sabha seats in the national capital, stated 350-kg of fine quality “ladoos” had been ordered for celebrations at the central office on DDU Marg and the Delhi unit’s office on Pant Marg.

The Election Commission of India started counting of votes for the seven-phase Lok Sabha Elections today (23 May, Thursday) from 8 am, bringing the curtains down on a bitterly-fought election.

Most of the exit polls have forecasted that the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP)-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA), the ruling party at the Centre, is on track to retain power for another term, riding on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s charm like the way he grabbed to power in 2014.

However, the Opposition parties, including Congress, have trashed outcomes of the exit polls, proclaiming that the BJP will experience severe drubbing because of rising unemployment, farm distress and slowdown in the economy.

The voting was staggered between 11 April and 19 May in which around 67% of the nearly 900 million eligible people exercised their franchise to elect 542 members of the Lok Sabha (polling in Vellore constituency was cancelled on the grounds of excessive use of money power) from a total of 8,049 contestants.

In the 2014 elections, the BJP won 282 seats while the Congress had suffered a severe drubbing, obtaining an all-time low of 44 seats as against 206 it won in 2009.

For the very first time in Lok Sabha polls, the EC will tally vote count on Electronic Voting Machines with Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips in 5 polling stations in each Assembly segment of a parliamentary constituency.

It will efficiently imply that out of nearly 10.3 lakh polling stations, the EVM-VVPAT matching will take place in 20,600 such stations.

In case of a mismatch, the results depending on paper slip count will likely be considered as final.

The entire exercise of EVM-paper trail machine matching will take an additional 4 to 5 hours, EC officials stated.

The Opposition parties on Tuesday raised issues over reports of alleged tampering of EVMs and asked the Election Commission to make sure transparency in counting.

EC officials stated the voting percentage of 67.11 this time was the highest ever voter-turnout in Indian parliamentary elections.

They said according to procedure , postal ballots would be the first to be counted.

Out of the 18 lakh registered voters, 16.49 lakh have sent their postal ballots to their respective returning officers as on 17 May.

The exercise of counting postal ballots personally will itself take 2 hours at least, an EC official mentioned.

Out of the 543 Lok Sabha seats, elections were held in 542 constituencies as the EC had cancelled polls to the Vellore constituency on the ground of excessive use of money power.

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