Hyderabad: The counting of votes for the 17 Lok Sabha seats in Telangana State began at 8 am in 126 halls situated in 35 locations across 18 districts. The officials completed counting of postal ballots in majority of the constituencies by 8.30 am, while counting of votes in EVMs also commenced in some constituencies. Sources said TRS is in the lead in five of seven constituencies where the counting started and trends were in its favour.
Around 443 candidates contested for 17 Parliamentary seats in the State. Amid speculation of regional parties playing a key role in establishment of the next government at the Centre, people are awaiting the results with bated breath.
The Election Commission of India made elaborate arrangements at the counting centres for peaceful completion of the counting process. Prohibitory orders under Section 144 have been imposed in the surroundings of the counting centres banning rallies and processions by the political parties.
Telangana Chief Electoral Officer Rajat Kumar is constantly monitoring the developments from his office in the State Secretariat and coordinating with the Returning Officers as well as the ECI authorities in New Delhi to ensure smooth conduct of the counting of votes. Besides about 6,500 electoral staff, more than 10,000 police personnel from the Central and the State forces have been deployed for the counting process. A three level security arrangement has been made at the counting centres.
The results are expected to be announced officially only late in the evening due to tallying of Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) slips with Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) count. The exercise will take place in five polling stations in each Assembly segment and is likely to delay the results by at least three-four hours.