Assembly polls 2022 LIVE: BJP takes early lead over SP in Uttar Pradesh


PTI, Mar 10, 2022, 8:22 AM IST

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The counting of votes for Assembly election in 5 states has begun. BJP takes early lead over SP in Uttar Pradesh.

The fates of the candidates in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Goa, Punjab, and Manipur will be revealed today.

The exit poll results have given a fresh new twist to the whole debate.

Uttar Pradesh

The counting of votes for the 403 Assembly seats in Uttar Pradesh began on Thursday morning with a three-layer security in place and cameras installed at all centres.

”The counting in all 75 districts of the state began at 8 am with postal ballots being counted first,” a senior election official said.

VVPAT (voter-verified paper audit trail) slips of five machines will be counted in every Assembly constituency.

The official said cameras have been installed at all counting centres. ”Adequate AROs (assistant returning officers) have been deployed in every Assembly constituency for interruption-free counting,” the senior official said, adding the necessary Covid protocol is also being maintained.

Security arrangements have been put in place and senior officials are maintaining a close watch on the counting process, especially after some political parties raised some objections, he said.

A three-layer security has been set up. This includes the central police forces, provincial armed constabulary and the state police. the official said.

Police said 250 CAPF companies have been deployed. A CAPF company usually has around 70-80 personnel.

As many as 625 gazetted officers of the UP Police, 1,807 inspectors, 9,598 sub-inspectors, 11,627 head constables and 48,649 constables have also been deployed, the officials added.

The model code of conduct for the elections had come into force on January 8.

While the BJP is trying to retain its power, the Samajwadi Party has emerged as a major contender in the elections. Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav had on Tuesday accused the ruling BJP of trying to ”steal votes” and claimed that a truck carrying EVMs was ”intercepted” in Varanasi.

The Election Commission clarified that the machines were for the training of officials on counting duty and were not used in elections.

All exit polls after the end of voting on March 7 had shown the BJP returning to power in Uttar Pradesh. They predicted an increase in tally for the Samajwadi Party but not enough seats to form government.

The exit polls forecast two-digit seats for the BSP while Congress count to be in single digit.

In 2017, the BJP-led alliance had won 325 seats, the SP 47, BSP 19 and the Congress seven.

Punjab

Counting of votes for 117 assembly seats in Punjab began on Thursday amid tight security arrangements.

As many as 7,500 personnel have been deputed for the counting process which began at 8 am at 66 locations across the state, officials said.

A three-tier security measure has been set up with the deployment of 45 companies of Central Armed Police Forces at the counting centres.

Officials said CRPC section 144 has been imposed in all the districts and gathering of people outside the counting centres has been prohibited.

Polling in the state was held on February 20.

The Arvind Kejriwal-led AAP, which emerged as a major contender in the multi-cornered contest, is looking to get its first full state to rule while the Congress aims to retain power.

Various exit polls have predicted that the Aam Aadmi Party will form the next government in Punjab but a few have also forecast a hung assembly.

As many as 1,304 candidates, including 93 women and two transgenders, were in the fray.

The state recorded a voter turnout of 71.95 per cent. It was the lowest compared to the voting percentage observed in three previous assembly elections.

The AAP sought to project itself as an agent of change and designed its poll campaign likewise and accused its rivals of ”looting” the state. The Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) and the Congress have alternatively been forming governments after the reorganisation of Punjab in 1966. The Congress fought the election with Charanjit Singh Channi as the chief ministerial candidate hoping for the consolidation of the Scheduled Caste votes.

The stakes are also high for the SAD which contested the polls in alliance with the BSP after breaking electoral ties with the BJP in 2020 over the farm laws issue. The BJP, which used to be a junior partner during its alliance with the SAD, fought this election as a major partner after allying with the Amarinder Singh-led Punjab Lok Congress and Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa-led SAD (Sanyukt). The Sanyukt Samaj Morcha, comprising various Punjab farmer bodies which had taken part in the stir against the Centre’s now-repealed farm laws, fought the polls in alliance with the Haryana Bharatiya Kisan Union (Chaduni) leader Gurnam Singh Chaduni-led Sanyukt Sangharsh Party. In the 2017 Punjab assembly polls, the Congress had ended the SAD-BJP’s 10-year rule by bagging 77 seats. The AAP had managed to get 20 seats, while the SAD-BJP had won 18 seats and two seats went to the Lok Insaaf Party.

Goa

Counting of votes polled in the February 14 Assembly elections in Goa began on Thursday morning in the coastal state, where the ruling BJP is seeking a third straight term in power, while the opposition Congress is hoping for a clear mandate to avoid the fiasco of 2017.

Counting got underway at 8 am at Government Polytechnic at Altinho in Panaji for 19 Assembly constituencies in North Goa and at Damodar College in Margao town for 21 seats in South Goa, an official said.

Altogether 302 candidates contested the elections which saw multi-cornered fights due to presence of many smaller and regional outfits besides the BJP and the Congress, the two major political forces in Goa.

The voter turnout was 79 per cent.

Most exit polls have predicted a hung House, amid talk of various post-result scenarios.

Double COVID-19 vaccination certificate has been made compulsory for entering counting centres, where three layers of security are in place.

Elaborate arrangements have been made at both the counting centres and all the results are expected around noon, the official said, adding anyone eligible to enter will have to carry either a negative RT-PCR certificate or double vaccination proof.

Besides BJP and Congress, Goa Forward Party, Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, Aam Aadmi Party and Trinamool Congress apart from independents contested the polls.

In the 2017 Assembly polls, despite winning 17 seats, the Congress could not come to power as the BJP, which had bagged 13 seats, allied with some independents and regional parties to form the government under the leadership of Manohar Parrikar.

 

Uttarakhand

Counting of votes for the 70 assembly seats in Uttarakhand began on Thursday amid tight security arrangements.

The polling was held in the state on February 14 with more than 65 per cent of the electorate casting their votes.

The ruling BJP is seeking a second consecutive term in office this time — something which has never happened in the state’s 21-year history.

Routed in the 2017 assembly polls with a tally of 11 seats against the BJP’s 57, the Congress is trying to stage a comeback.

Several political heavyweights are among a total of 632 candidates awaiting what electronic voting machines (EVMs) hold in store for them.

Prominent among them are Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami, his cabinet colleagues Satpal Maharaj, Bansidhar Bhagat, Subodh Uniyal, Arvind Pandey, Dhan Singh Rawat and Rekha Arya, besides state BJP president Madan Kaushik.

Important Congress leaders whose fate will be decided include former chief minister Harish Rawat, former minister Yashpal Arya, state Congress president Ganesh Godiyal and Leader of Opposition in the fourth assembly Pritam Singh.

Manipur

Counting of votes polled in the Manipur assembly elections began at 8 am on Thursday under tight security and strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols, officials said.

Polling for 60 assembly seats was held in two phases on February 28 and March 5.

The counting, underway in 12 dedicated centres across the northeastern state, will decide the electoral fate of 265 candidates, including nominees of the BJP, Congress, National People’s Party and Janata Dal (United).

Various exit polls have predicted a win for the BJP in the state with the party slated to secure seats ranging from 23 to 43, while the Congress is seen winning between four and 17 seats.

“The counting process started at 8 am with the calculation of postal ballots, to be followed by votes polled in EVMs from 8.30 am in 41 counting halls notified for the purpose,” an election official said.

Manipur Chief Electoral Officer Rajesh Agarwal had earlier said district election officers and senior police officers have been directed to make elaborate security arrangements for the exercise.

The entire process of counting will be supervised by 41 General Observers besides the Returning Officers.

District Election Officer Th Kirankumar said that 3,45,481 votes were cast on EVMs at polling stations out of a total of 3,80,480 votes.

“The strong rooms have round-the-clock CCTV coverage, and inspection was carried out on a daily basis,” he added.

Prominent candidates in the fray are Chief Minister and BJP nominee N Biren Singh, Assembly Speaker Y Khemchand Singh, Deputy Chief Minister and NPP candidate Yumnam Joykumar and Manipur Congress president N Lokesh Singh.

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