Counting of votes at 8 a.m. Thursday


New Delhi : The counting of votes polled in the assembly elections in Maharashtra, Haryana and Arunachal Pradesh a week ago will begin at 8 a.m. Thursday, an official said.

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The results are expected to be announced by midday.

“The counting will start at 8 a.m.,” said Rajesh Malhotra, spokesperson of the Election Commission, adding that arrangements had been made to disperse information through its website.

While Congress and the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) are pitted against the Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Maharashtra, in Haryana and Arunchal Pradesh, the Congress party is widely seen as a front-runner.

In Maharashtra, around 60 percent of the 7.60 crore electorate in the state exercised their franchise Oct 13. There was repolling in 22 polling centres, mostly after Maoist guerrillas tried to disrupt voting.

The fate of 3,559 contestants will be known Thursday, who contested from the 288 constituencies in the state.

In Haryana, the Congress leaders are hopeful that the lack of unity among opposition parties will be to its advantage and they will return to power for a second term.

Besides Indian National Lok Dal (INLD), the other main players in Haryana are the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Haryana Janhit Congress (HJC) and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP). All of them contested the elections on their own.

As many as 1,222 contestants, including 68 women contested the elections in 90 constituencies in the state. Around 72 percent of Haryana’s 13 million voters exercised their franchise.

In Arunchal Pradesh, of the 750,000 voters, an estimated 72 percent voted to pick a new 60-member assembly. Balloting took place for 57 seats because three candidates were declared elected unopposed.

A total of 154 candidates were in the fray with the Congress fielding contestants in all 60 seats.