After an anxious wait of more than a month, the counting of votes in the Chandigarh Lok Sabha constituency will take place on Friday and the first clear trends are likely to become available around 11 am.
The counting will start at 8 am at Chandigarh College of Engineering and Technology in Sector 26. The postal ballots will be counted first.
Thereafter, the first round of counting will start and this is likely to take around 45 minutes. The subsequent rounds will take 20 to 25 minutes each.
A total of 19 rounds of counting will be held. The official announcement of the result could be made around 4 pm. But it could be delayed if the difference of votes between the top candidates is small.
Since this time ‘None of The Above’ (NOTA) was an option in the EVMs, the number of city residents who rejected all candidates will also be known.
Three LED screens will be put up where round-wise result will be displayed. One will be at the gate of CCET, another in the room for the media and the third in the counting room.
A total of 32 counting agents have been allowed to each party. Of these, 28 will be at the counting tables while four will be in reserve. Around 200 staff members of the Election Department will be on duty. Heavy security has been deployed at CCET.
There are a total of 17 candidates in the fray. While former railways minister and four-time Chandigarh MP Pawan Kumar Bansal is hoping for a fourth consecutive win, BJP candidate Kirron Kher and AAP candidate Gul Panag are making their electoral debut.
In the satta market, the odds are stacked against Bansal. Kher is the hot favourite of the bookies, followed by Gul Panag, and Bansal is placed third.
Since Kher and Panag are Mumbai-based, the Congress had tried to turn the election into an insider-versus- outsider issue. Kher had sought votes in the name of its prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi while Panag said AAP was different from both the Congress and the BJP.