The YSR Congress Party (YSRCP), whose role in government formation at the Centre could be crucial in case of a hung Parliament, made it clear on Wednesday that it was not averse to supporting any party or grouping, provided its condition of special status to Andhra Pradesh was met.
The remarks on the eve of counting of votes assume significance as at least 22 Opposition parties are refusing to believe the exit polls which have predicted clear majority to the BJP-led coalition and are making efforts to bring all non-NDA parties together for the possible government formation.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Wednesday said the Congress will accept the Lok Sabha election results with "humility", but maintained that exit poll projections have been wrong several times.
He also accused the BJP of not doing issue-based politics and trying to polarise voters during the elections.
"Prediction by exit polls have gone wrong several times. Good results (for the Congress) will come out tomorrow. We believe that the results will be in our favour.
"Whatever the results, we will accept them with humility," Gehlot told reporters.
Abhishek Manu Singhvi, Congress, said, “I read out "VVPAT slips have been counted due to either non-display of result from control unit or under rule 56 D of conduct of polls rule or whatsoever 'the reason shan't be included in draw of lots for mandatory verification of VVPAT slips'. What's the reason?”
“Is it because 'Chunav Achar Sanhita' has become 'Modi Prachar Sanhita'? Won't you do anything for credibility of EVMs? Will you make EVMs 'Electronic Victory Machines' for BJP? Is it because EC stands for 'Enfeebled Commission', 'Eradicated/Eliminated' Credibility'?”
Counting of votes for all 11 Lok Sabha seats in Chhattisgarh will be held at 27 centres in the state on Thursday amid tight security.
The state recorded 71.48% voter turnout in the 11 Lok Sabha seats where voting was held in three phases on April 11, 18 and 23.
"The counting of votes will start at 8am on Thursday at 27 centres - one each at 27 district headquarters of the state. All preparations have been completed for the counting," said state Chief Electoral Officer Subrat Sahoo.
Tight security arrangements have been made at the counting centres, particularly those in Naxal-hit areas, he said.
CPI(M) general secretary Sitaram Yechury on Wednesday said the Election Commission's rejection of the Opposition demand to first count the VVPAT slips went against the "spirit" of a Supreme Court order on the devices.
Yechury's reaction comes after the commission is learnt to have stuck to its plan to count the voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) slips in the end and not in the beginning as demanded by the Opposition.
"This goes against the spirit of the Supreme Court Order on VVPATs delivered before polling began," Yechury tweeted.
"If the process has been so long drawn for the sake of integrity of the electoral process, why is (the) EC not adhering to the basic principle of testing the sample first?" the Left leader asked.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Wednesday demanded that the Election Commission and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) ensure that necessary facilities were provided to Kerala police officials being deputed to other states for poll duties.
Vijayan shot off letters to the Commission and CRPF following reports that police personnel from the state had faced hardships during their return journey after participating in Lok Sabha polls in Bihar.
"The Commission and CRPF should give necessary directions to ensure that police personnel deputed for poll duties are provided all necessary facilities, including for their return journey," Vijayan said.
Those deploying police personnel for official duties have the responsibility of ensuring the pride of the service personnel is upheld.
It is unfortunate that some times it was not being implemented, he said.
The Suheldev Bhartiya Samaj Party (SBSP) dismissed all speculations on Wednesday that its legislators might desert the party after the dismissal of its president, Om Prakash Rajbhar, from the Uttar Pradesh cabinet.
"There are reports in the media about our three SBSP MLAs. All the three -- Triveni Ram, Ramanand Baudh and Kailash Nath Sonkar -- are solidly with the SBSP," Rajbhar said. "All have struggled together (for the party) and no amount of effort will help the BJP in succeeding in its designs." SBSP general secretary Arvind Rajbhar pointed out that even though Sonkar was allegedly harassed by state Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Mahendra Nath Pandey during the Rajya Sabha election, the legislator did not support the saffron party and, instead, cross-voted.
Counting of votes for 29 Lok Sabha seats in Madhya Pradesh will be held at 292 centres across 51 district headquarters on Thursday and results are expected by late evening, a senior election official said.
Around 1,800 CCTV cameras have been installed at the counting centres where internet and wifi services will not be available, state Chief Electoral Officer V L Kantha Rao told reporters on Tuesday.
"The counting of votes for the 29 Lok Sabha seats in the state will be held from 8 am on Thursday in 292 halls across 51 district headquarters. Given the number of candidates and counting rounds, the first result may start coming in by 10 pm," he said.
Seeking to bolster the morale of his party's workers, Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday asked them to not be disheartened by fake exit poll results and urged them to stay alert and vigilant.
His appeal to workers came a day after opposition parties raised concerns over reports of alleged tampering of EVMs and asked the Election Commission to ensure transparency in counting.
Rahul Gandhi asked the workers to believe in themselves and the Congress.
"The next 24 hours are very crucial. Stay alert and vigilant. Don't be scared. You are fighting for the truth. Don't be disheartened by the propaganda of fake exit polls. Believe in yourself and the Congress. Your hard work will not go to waste. Jai Hind," he said in a tweet in Hindi.
Bhopal Collector S Khade said, “Three-tier security present at EVM Strong Room. All counting agents, polling agents and candidates to be frisked before entering the area. Movement of EVMs amd counting to be done under police presence and CCTV surveillance.”
Elaborate security arrangements have been made for the counting of votes for the lone Lok Sabha seat in Nagaland and by-election to Aonglenden Assembly constituency on Thursday, a top election official has said.
Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Abhijit Sinha said on Tuesday that there would be three-tier security cordon on the day of counting.
The first and second tier security cordon would be manned by the district executive force, state police and Indian Reserve Battalion personnel and the third and last tier close to the counting hall would be manned by Central Armed Police Force personnel, he said.
Counting of votes for the Lok Sabha elections, in which over 8,000 candidates were in the fray for 542 seats, will begin at 8.00 am on Thursday and results are expected only by late evening due to tallying of voter verified paper audit trail slips with EVM count for the first time. This is the highest ever-voter turnout in Indian parliamentary elections.
This is for the first time in a Lok Sabha election that results of voting machines will be matched with slips generated by paper trail machines.
The exercise will take place in five polling stations per assembly segment which effectively means that out of nearly 10.3 lakh polling stations, the EVM-VVPAT matching will take place in 20600 such stations.
A day before the counting of the votes polled in the Lok Sabha election, the Congress on Wednesday termed as "constitutional travesty" the EC's rejection of Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa's demand that dissent notes should be recorded and alleged that the poll watchdog wanted to set a new precedent of "dark secrets" and "secluded chambers" in performing its duties.
"A Constitutional travesty! ECI wants to set a new precedent of 'dark secrets' & 'secluded chambers' in doing its constitutional duties.
"If CEC can't play fair in its functioning, can it play fair in ensuring a free & fair election?," Congress's chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala wrote on Twitter.
Counting of votes for the 21 Lok Sabha seats and 146 Assembly segments in Odisha will be held at 63 different centres across the state amidst tight security on Thursday, a senior election official has said.
The counting of votes will start from 8 am on Thursday and will be conducted in around 2,500 tables, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) S Kumar said on Tuesday.
Each counting hall will have at least seven tables each for Assembly and Lok Sabha seats and three officials including a supervisor, a counting assistant and a micro observer will be engaged for each table to ensure free and fair counting of votes, he said.
Congress leader Udit Raj on Wednesday in a serious development raised questions over the way the Supreme Court has dealt with complaints of EVM rigging and with petitions seeking review of 100% VVPAT slips along with electronic voting machines on vote counting day.
"Why does the Supreme Court not want all the VVPAT slots to be counted? Is it also involved in rigging? In the process of selection, when the government work has been slow for almost three months, then it takes two to three days to count," Raj tweeted.
West Bengal: Polling underway at polling station number 200 in North Kolkata parliamentary constituency. ECI had declared void the poll held on 19 May at the polling station.
Nearly 60% female voters came out to exercise their franchise in Bihar in the Lok Sabha elections as against just about 55% turnout for men.
As per the figures released by the Election Commission, the overall turnout for female voters stood at 59.92% as against 55.26% for men.
The constituencies which registered the highest female turnouts were Katihar (72.37), Supaul (71.64), Kishanganj (70.37), Araria (69.39), Purnea (68.15), Begusarai (67.13), Samastipur (66.74), Vaishali (66.62) and Ujiarpur (65.12).
Re-polling for Lok Sabha Elections 2019 underway at booth Number 123 in Amritsar. The voters are being given 'certificate of appreciation' by the Election Commission.
The Election Commission of India will meet on Wednesday, at 10 am to discuss the demands made by the opposition leaders.
The opposition leaders met the Election Commission with a demand that it should ensure transparency in the counting process by verifying EVM results with VVPATs.