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Will Modi be Prime Minister again? Why you may not know for sure on May 23

FE Online
lok sabha election result, election commission

All eyes will turn to the Election Commission as polling for 543 Lok Sabha seats ends on May 19 when 59 constituencies vote in the seventh and final phase of elections. The focus will turn to the results, finally drawing to a close a bitter battle of words between the ruling dispensation and the opposition parties. As uncertainty prevails over whether Narendra Modi tastes success in his bid for a second term as Prime Minister or is trounced by the coming together of regional parties along with the Congress, the election outcome is one development which is sure to have everyone’s attention.

If May 23 is what you are eagerly waiting for, brace yourself for a longer wait to know the outcome, especially if the end result goes down to the wire. While a decisive verdict may make the scenario clear on May 23, a closer fight to the finish could the wait longer. The counting of votes will be carried out on May 23, according to the schedule announced by the Election Commission of India. However, the results could be delayed and final figures are expected only by May 24, according to a report in news agency IANS.

Sanjay Basu, Addition CEO, West Bengal, informed that the final results could be delayed due to the Supreme Court’s latest order to the Election Commission to increase the random verification of VVPAT slips with EVMs to five polling booths per assembly segment in each parliamentary seat. He said that this will extend the counting time by 8 to 10 hours. He said that counting of VVPAT slips, postal ballots and scanning of Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballots System (ETPBS) will only 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 next day,” the ECI official told IANS.

Twenty-one opposition parties had moved the Supreme Court seeking an order be passed that 50% of the VVPAT slips be verified with the EVMs in every parliamentary seat. However, the court directed the EC to increase random verification of VVPAT slips from one to five polling booths in each assembly segment. The court observed that its order was aimed to ensure the greatest degree of accuracy and satisfaction in the election process.

Later, the opposition filed a review plea urging to court to increase the figure to 25%. However, the court rejected the plea.