Counting begins in Andhra Pradesh

May 16th, 2009 - 10:23 am ICT by IANS  

Hyderabad, May 16 (IANS) The counting of votes polled in the state assembly and Lok Sabha elections in Andhra Pradesh began Saturday amid tight security and high expectations by candidates.
The initial trends show ruling Congress party and the main opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) leading in one assembly constituency each after the first round of counting. While Congress was ahead in Mahbubabad, the TDP was leading in Vanaparti.

The counting of votes began at 8 a.m. in 106 centres across the state.

The process started with the postal ballots.

The counting of votes registered in the ‘control units’ of the electronic voting machines (EVMs) was taken up after the counting of postal ballots.

State’s chief electoral officer I.V. Subba Rao said the 25,000 personnel reached the counting centres. They were deployed at 444 counting halls and 7,524 counting tables.

They will count votes registered in 133,000 EVMs. About 42 million of 57.7 million voters cast their votes under the two phases of simultaneous polls for the 294-member state assembly and 42 Lok Sabha seats in two phases April 16 and April 23.

The state witnessed a three-cornered contest between the ruling Congress party, the four-party ‘Mahakutami’ or the grand alliance led by Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and Praja Rajyam of actor-turned-politician Chiranjeevi.

A total of 569 candidates for Lok Sabha polls and 3,655 for assembly elections are in fray.

Each round of counting is expected to take 20 minutes and each constituency will have 11 to 40 rounds of counting.

The election authorities are videographing the counting process while 334 observers of the Election Commission and as many micro-observers are keeping a watch on the proceedings.

With intelligence reports warning of violence in some parts of the state, unprecedented security arrangements have been made with the deployment of 16,000 policemen.

The police have imposed ban orders at the counting centres and ordered closure of liquor shops.

Prohibitory orders banning assembly of five or more people have been imposed in the state capital and some other sensitive places.

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