Lok Sabha polls: Counting to begin on Thursday morning

New Delhi, May 22 Counting of votes, the grand finale in the seven-phase Lok Sabha elections in 542 seats, will begin on Thursday along with state assemblies of Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim.

The Election Commission has made elaborate arrangements for smooth and hassle-free counting as well as for providing authentic and latest updates.

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The counting will begin at 8 a.m. and trends are likely to start coming in by afternoon, while results are expected by the evening, an official said.

By evening a clear picture is likely to emerge on who would be the major player(s) in the 17th Lok Sabha and who all will be winners among 8049 candidates in the fray.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi is contesting from Varanasi while Congress President Rahul is contesting from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh and Wayanad in Kerala.

Counting of Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System (ETPBS) and Postal Ballots will be taken up first.

Counting personnel will randomly select five EVMs from each Assembly segments for matching with VVPAT slips as directed by the Supreme Court.

There will be three-tier security in place with the outer cordon beginning 100 metres from the counting centre.