By around 1.30 p.m. on Tuesday, it will be clear who the MLA for Rajarajeshwarinagar Assembly constituency is. However, with restrictions in place, there will be no victory procession or bursting of crackers.
The byelection to the segment was held on November 3 in 678 polling stations, with 2.09 lakh voters exercising their franchise. The counting of votes will be undertaken at Jnanakshi Vidya Niketan School in R.R. Nagar.
Addressing reporters on Monday, Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) Commissioner N. Manjunath Prasad, who is also the District Election Officer, said the counting would begin at 8 a.m. with the 412 postal ballots received. The EVM counting, which will be done in 25 rounds, is to be taken up at 8.30 a.m.
The counting of votes will be taken up simultaneously in four halls, each with seven tables to ensure social distancing. Nearly 500 poll staff have been deputed. The staff have been allotted tables through randomisation, and they will be informed of the details on Tuesday morning, as per the directions of the Election Commission of India.
Mr. Prasad said that after the EVM counting is completed, the poll staff would randomly pick five VVPATs and count the slips. The entire counting is likely to end before 1.30 p.m. He also said that after the counting, the EVMs would be sealed and sent to a storeroom, where they will be kept for 45 days. This is in case of any dispute in counting.
With regard to the restrictions in place, neither the poll staff nor party agents will be allowed to carry on their person any bags or mobile phones. Everyone should wear a mask, while thermal scanning and sanitisation facilities will be provided by the BBMP. “We will strictly enforce social distancing,” he said, adding that public announcements would be made on the results of each round of counting.
City Police Commissioner Kamal Pant said a four-layer police security would be in place at the counting centre, and only people with valid ID cards issued by the Returning Officer would be allowed on the premises. As many as 592 police personnel, including one Deputy Commissioner of Police, four Assistant Commissioners of Police, and 20 inspectors, will be in place at the counting centre, apart from nine platoons each of Karnataka State Reserve Police and City Armed Reserve.
Prohibitory orders will be in place in the Assembly segment from 6 a.m. to midnight on Tuesday. There will be a ban on sale and consumption of alcohol during the period.