EC gears up for counting of votes on Friday

New Delhi: The results of the Assembly polls in five states are expected by noon on Friday when the counting of votes would start at 839 counting halls spread over Assam, Kerala, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.

An elaborate three tier security arrangement has been put in place for the exercise, which would start at 8 AM involving 43,982 officials and nearly 17,700 central security personnel keeping a hawk eyed vigil.

"By early lunch", was the response of Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi when asked when the first result is expected of the keenly contested elections.

The entire exercise, which would decide the fate of several political heavyweights, would be videographed to prevent any malpractice, the CEC told reporters.

"Efficient and secure arrangements are in place for counting and declaration of results", he said, adding that a computer centre would be functional within the counting hall.

Quraishi said that counting would take place in 142 counting halls in Assam, 140 in Kerala, 11 in Puducherry, 234 in Tamil Nadu and 312 in West Bengal.

Elaborating the massive exercise of conducting the polls in five states with "all time record turnout in Tamil Nadu and West Bengal", the CEC said a total of 14.16 crore electors exercised their franchise which was 20 per cent of the total 72.8 crore electorate.