Kolkata: Counting of votes for the 42 Lok Sabha seats in West Bengal began on Thursday in 58 counting centres across the state. Around 25,000 counting personnel have been deployed by the Election Commission for deciphering the mandate that lies locked in the EVMs from 78,799 polling stations spread over 294 Assembly segments.
The counting started with the postal ballots, following which the EVMs would be opened. Once the counting of votes polled in the EVMs is over, five random VVPATs of each Assembly segment will be tallied with the voting machines in the presence of the counting observers.
According to an official, the counting of voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT), the counting of postal ballots, votes in the EVMs and the scanning of Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballots System (ETPBS), will make the process lengthy.
“Our aim is to complete the entire counting accurately and seamlessly. Counting of five polling stations of every assembly segment will be done at one table. So the final result is expected by Friday,” Additional Chief Electoral Officer, West Bengal, Sanjay Basu said.
Also, the counting for the by-polls to Islampur, Habibpur (ST), Kandi, Nowda, Darjeeling and Bhatpara assembly constituencies will be taken up.
Two Parliamentary Constituencies – Kolkata North and Jhargram – will have maximum of 25 rounds of counting. At the other end, Jalpaiguri, Raiganj and Balurghat seats will have only 10 rounds of counting.
As many as 200 companies of Central Armed Paramilitary Forces (CAPF) have been retained by the Commission in addition to the 82 CAPF companies deployed for guarding the strong rooms and counting centres.
All the counting centres have a three-tier security system and the strong rooms are being guarded by the CAPF. The seven-phase voting for 42 constituencies began on April 11 and ended on May 19.