The stage is set for the counting of votes polled during the recently concluded Rajinder Nagar assembly by-poll in Delhi with all arrangements, including a three-tier security cover around the strong room, in place, a senior official said on Saturday.
The counting will begin at 8 am on Sunday, Delhi Chief Electoral Officer Ranbir Singh said.
"We have made all the arrangements for the exercise. The strong room is fully secured with a three-tier security cover. The counting centre has been set up at ITI Pusa," he told PTI.
"Postal ballots will be counted first, and only those ballots which have been received from service voters till 8 am tomorrow will be considered for counting. After that, the EVM votes shall be counted," he said.
A separate special box will be there for counting of VVPAT slips, he said.
According to officials, 43.67 per cent of the male electorate and 43.86 per cent of female voters turned up for the June 23 bypoll. The percentage of third gender voters stood at 50 per cent.
The bypoll passed off peacefully with a low turnout of 43.75 per cent.
This is significantly less than the figures recorded in the 2020 polls, when the voter turnout in Rajinder Nagar was 58.27 per cent -- 58.09 per cent male voters and 58.5 per cent female voters.
A total of 1,64,698 voters were eligible to exercise their franchise in the by-election, in which 14 candidates are trying their luck, although it was largely being seen as a battle between a confident AAP and a spirited BJP.
AAP's Durgesh Pathak is likely to have a close contest with BJP's Rajesh Bhatia, who had also been a councillor from the area. The Congress' nominee is Prem Lata.
The AAP and BJP have exuded confidence that their candidates will emerge victorious with a huge margin.
This was also the first electoral exercise in Delhi after the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. And, 24 Covid-positive voters turned up to exercise their franchise in the bypoll, officials had earlier said.
Of the total number of eligible voters for the bypoll, 92,221 are male, 72,473 female, and four belong to the third gender.
Also, 1,899 voters in this assembly seat are in the 18-19 age group, as per data shared by the office of the Delhi CEO earlier.
A total of 190 polling stations, including 13 auxiliary ones, were set up at 21 locations, and "very minor snags" in EVMs were reported at a few booths, and replacements were made accordingly, a senior official said.
Covid-positive voters were allowed to vote in the last one hour, after the regular voters had exercised their franchise, following all safety protocols, like masks and gloves.
The Rajinder Nagar bypoll turnout was even lower than the figures recorded in the Rajouri Garden bypoll (46.5 per cent) and Bawana bypoll 44.8 per cent), both held in 2017.
In 2015 polls, the two Delhi assembly seats had registered a turnout of 72 per cent and 61.83 per cent respectively.
The bypoll was necessitated in the wake of AAP leader Raghav Chadha leaving the seat after being elected to the Rajya Sabha recently. Chadha was the MLA from the Rajinder Nagar Assembly seat.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)