Bengal Election Results Counting Today for 292 seats is beginning at 8.
At least 292 observers and 256 companies have been designated from the central forces deployed in 108 counting centers distributed in 23 districts of the state.
The 2021 West Bengal Assembly elections will come to an end tomorrow (Sunday, May 2), after a campaign marked by violence, vicious personal attacks, and patriotic fulminations. The scrutiny of the 292 of the 294 seats that went to the polls in eight phases between March 27 and April 29 will take place tomorrow from 8 am.
The scrutiny will take place amid strict health and safety protocols and restrictions imposed by the Election Commission and the state government as the number of people increases. COVID-19 the cases continue. As of Friday, the state had 8,28,366 cases.
On Friday, Bengal recorded the highest COVID-19 deaths with 96 people succumbing to the disease and a one-day record high of 17,411 new cases of the viral infection.
A three-tier security arrangement has been put in place at 108 counting centers where electronic voting machines (EVMs), along with voter-verifiable paper audit trail units (VVPAT) have been kept in strong rooms, he said.
At least 292 observers and 256 companies of central forces have been deployed in the counting centers distributed in 23 districts of the state.
The South 24 Parganas district has the maximum number of counting centers at 15, while Kalimpong, Alipurduar, and Jhargram each have one. The elections for the eighth and final phase ended on April 29 with an estimated turnout of xx percent.
Most of the exit polls released after the eighth and final round of voting suggested that the ruling TMC could have an advantage over the opposition BJP and the Left-Congress-ISF combination.
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But who will get the magic number of 147 in the house of 294 will be known only after the votes are counted on Sunday.
COVID-19 guidelines for counting centers
In view of the uprising coronavirus cases in the state, steps have been taken to ensure that COVID guidelines are strictly followed during the count, the official said.
All EVMs and VVPATs in the counting centers will be disinfected before the start of the process.
“Masks, face shields, and disinfectants will be kept outside the centers for those involved in the exercise. At least 15 rounds of disinfection will be performed at each center during the process. We have made a special arrangement for this,” he said.
The voting panel has decided to place tables in a counting room in such a way as to maintain the rules of social distancing.
“No more than seven tables, instead of 14, will be allowed in a counting room. More tables will be placed where we do not have space restrictions,” he said.
According to EC guidelines, candidates and their agents will need to submit a negative COVID test report or a double dose of the vaccination certificate to enter a counting center.
“We have asked political parties and candidates to provide a list of their agents along with a negative test report or vaccination certificate. They will be allowed if they meet the security requirement,” the official said.
Orders have been issued to the entire district administration to prevent gatherings outside of the counting centers, and action will be taken against those involved in violating the guidelines, he said.
Bengal closes shopping centers, restaurants, and spas as cases rise
Meanwhile, the West Bengal government on Friday ordered the closure of all shopping malls, lounges, restaurants, bars, sports complexes, gyms, spas, and swimming pools in the state with immediate effect until further orders, amid the increase in COVID-19 cases.
Social, cultural, academic, and entertainment-related gatherings and congregations have also been banned in the state for the time being, according to the order.
The state recorded the highest daily rate on Friday COVID-19 deaths with 96 people succumbing to the disease, the health department said in a bulletin.
The count rose to 8,28,366 with a one-day high of 17,411 new cases of infection.
The state government, however, said that activities related to electoral scrutiny processes and victory rallies will be guided by the protocols of the Electoral Commission.
“The increase in COVID cases is a great challenge for us. We have taken all forms of measures for Sunday’s counting process. Any violation of the measures will attract severe, even legal action,” the official said.
The EC has banned roadshows and vehicle rallies in the state and noted that COVID safety regulations were being breached in West Bengal during the campaign.
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