EC readies for vote count in Karnataka

Bangalore: Amid tight security, about 13,000 polling officials in Karnataka will Friday count the votes polled for the state’s 28 Lok Sabha seats.

“We have made elaborate arrangements with fool-proof security to ensure peaceful counting of votes at all centres in the state, including four in Bangalore and one in each constituency across the districts,” state chief electoral officer A.K. Jha told IANS Thursday.

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Polling in the state was held in a single phase for the first time in many years. Around 67 percent of the 46 million electorate exercised their democratic right April 17.

Re-polling was held April 29 in 12 booths spread over nine parliamentary constituencies due to glitches in the electronic voting machines (EVMs).

Each counting centre will have 64 tables and each table will be manned by three officials, including a counting supervisor and two assistants. A micro-observer will monitor the entire process in the presence of one agent from each candidate’s side.

“We have trained officials to activate the EVMs and record votes stored and announce the numbers to micro-observers, recording officials and agents,” Jha said.

The state poll panel has installed closed circuit television cameras (CCTVs) in all centres to record the proceedings and ensure transparency in the exercise.

“Micro-observers and officials will be allotted tables randomly and intimated early Friday to ensure secrecy of ballot boxes (EVMs) that will be opened assembly segment wise after counting of postal ballots from 8 a.m. onwards,” Jha said.

The poll panel will provide regular updates. “People can also access updates every hour on trends and results on our website ( throughout the day. We hope to declare all results by evening,” Jha said.

The counting centres are under heavy guard with personnel from the state and central security forces.

Police have banned parking of vehicles in a 1-km radius around all counting centres in the state and vehicular movement will be restricted/regulated to prevent traffic jams and crowding.

In all, 434 candidates, including 195 independents and 21 women, contested the elections. Of the 28 seats, five are reserved for dalits (SCs) and two for tribals (STs).

About a dozen constituencies in the state will be in the spotlight due to their high profile candidates and the political parties they represent.

Among them is Bangalore South where Infosys co-founder and technocrat Nandan Nilekani of the Congress is in the fray against five-time MP and BJP candidate N.H. Ananth Kumar.

Also in the limelight is Bangalore Central since former Infosys director and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate V. Balakrishnan is pitted against outgoing BJP lawmaker P.C. Mohan and Youth Congress leader Rizwan Arshad.

Bangalore North, Mandya, Mysore, Hassan, Chikkaballapur, Shimoga, Gulbarga, Uduip-Chikmagalur, Dakshina Kannada and Bellary are some other important seats.