Assembly elections 2021: Stage set for counting amidst tight COVID-19 protocols
New Delhi, May 02: Counting of votes will be held on Sunday in the high-stakes Assam, West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry assembly elections, overshadowed by the raging Covid pandemic, as the BJP seeks to consolidate its hold over more states and the Congress along with its allies attempts to regain lost turf.
There will be 2,364 counting halls as compared to 1,002 halls in 2016 in 822 assemble constituencies, a more than 200 per cent increase, in view of the Covid guidelines, according to the Election Commission which had drawn flak from the courts over the conduct of polls during the pandemic.
At least 15 rounds of sanitisation will be carried out at each polling centre, besides social distancing and other precautions, including a ban on gatherings, will be strictly followed, officials said.
They said counting of votes will begin at 8 AM and continue late into the night. As many as 1,100 counting observers will watch the process and candidates and agents will have to produce a negative Covid test report or double dose of vaccination certificate to get an entry.
Exit polls have forecast a tight contest between the incumbent Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress and the BJP in the crucial West Bengal assembly polls and put the ruling saffron combine ahead in Assam while projecting that the Left alliance will retain Kerala, a feat unseen in four decades.
For the Congress, the exit polls predicted that it may fall short in Assam and Kerala and lose in Puducherry to the opposition alliance of AINRC-BJP-AIADMK.
The only good news for the Congress was from Tamil Nadu, where the exit polls predicted that the DMK-led opposition alliance, of which it is a part, will trounce the AIADMK-BJP coalition.