This Article is From May 12, 2011

Stage set for counting of votes in Assam

Stage set for counting of votes in Assam
Guwahati: The stage is set for counting of votes for Assam Assembly on Friday more than a month after the polls to decide the fate of 1,081 candidates in 126 seats.

Polling, by and large peaceful, was held in two phases on April 4 and April 11 and recorded a high voter turnout of more than 75 per cent.

Official sources said counting will start at 8 am at all the centres on Friday.

While the Congress is all set for a third consecutive term in the state according to Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, exit polls have predicted a hung Assembly.

Among prominent contenders are chief minister Tarun Gogoi, leader of the Opposition and two time former Chief  Minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) president Chandra Mohan Patowary and a host of ministers including Himanta Biswa Sarma, Bharat Narah, Pradyut Bordoloi and Rockybul Hussain.

The ruling Congress has 71 seats while opposition AGP has 20, BJP 8 and minority-dominated All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) 10 in the present house.

Assam PCC president Bhubaneswar Kalita has claimed the party will score a hat-trick with a comfortable majority.

The AGP, which is expected to have the BJP as an ally, on the other hand is also confident of victory with Patowary claiming the anti-incumbency factor will work for the party's advantage.

According to Additional Chief Electoral Officer M Sahu there will be 48 counting centres throughout the state.

"There will be approximately 2,000 counting tables and nearly 8,000 personnel involved in the counting process," he said.

Tight security will be in place. "There will be a three-tier security system with the police, other security forces and armed battalions and the Central armed forces guarding them," he said.

While the trends would be available soon after counting begins, the first result could be expected anytime before 1 pm.

"Hopefully we should be over with the entire process by 6 to 7 pm tomorrow," he added.