Jaipur, Dec 3: The political fate of 1,862 candidates contesting the Assembly elections in Rajasthan will be decided on Sunday as the counting began.
Veteran candidates include Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, former Chief Minister Vasundhara Raje, Rajasthan Congress chief Govind Singh Dotasara, Sachin Pilot, C.P. Joshi, BJP leader Rajendra Rathore, Satish Poonia, Rajyavardhan Rathore, Diya Kumari and many others.
The suspense hovering over candidates contesting for 199 out of 200 Assembly constituencies of the state will be clear by Sunday evening. Meanwhile, till the EVMs are opened, politicians as well as the public are busy in speculating the probable permutation and combination which can make newer political equations in the state.
Regarding the preparations for counting of votes in the Rajasthan Assembly Elections-2023, Chief Electoral Officer Praveen Gupta said that the counting of votes for 199 Assembly constituencies started at 8 a.m. at 36 centers in 33 district headquarters.
A total of 1,121 AROs have been put on duty for counting of votes. Counting of votes is being done at two centres each in Jaipur, Jodhpur and Nagaur and at one centre each in the remaining 30 election districts. All preparations for counting of votes have been made. All District Election Officers, Police Commissioners and Superintendents of Police have been instructed to strictly follow the security norms in the counting centres. The day of counting has been declared a dry day.
Gupta said that three-tier security arrangements have been ensured at the counting venues. Only authorised pass-holding persons will be able to enter. Separate counting halls have been made for each Assembly seat at the counting centres, whereas per the instructions of the Commission, tables have been arranged for counting of postal ballots and EVMs.
Randomization of counting personnel will be three-tier. The first randomization has been done. The second level of randomization was done 24 hours before the start of counting and the third level of randomization took place at 5 a.. Observers have been appointed by the Commission for counting of votes in all the Assembly constituencies, who have reached the districts. The second and third randomization will be done in the presence of the observer.
Gupta said that there will be a counting supervisor, counting assistant, counting staff and a micro observer on the counting table of EVM. Similarly, there will be one assistant returning officer, one counting supervisor, two counting assistants and one micro observer at the counting table of postal ballots. Micro observers will be officers and employees of central government departments. 2,552 tables have been installed in the state for calculation. There will be a total of 4,180 rounds for EVM counting. Maximum 34 rounds will be held in the Shiv Assembly constituency and at least 14 rounds will be held in Ajmer South Assembly constituency.
The Chief Electoral Officer said that there are counting agents of the candidates on the EVM/Postal Ballot table, whose seating order will be (1) recognised national political parties, (2) recognised state parties of other states which are contesting elections for that Assembly constituency. The symbol has been fixed, (3) Unrecognised registered parties (4) independents.
On Saturday, Chief Electoral Officer Gupta held a meeting with political parties and informed them about all the preparations for counting of votes.
Gupta said that only eligible and sufficient number of counting agents should be appointed by all political parties. He said that to maintain the law and order situation during the counting of votes and after the declaration of election results, proper arrangements for barricading, police arrangements, parking arrangements, etc., will be ensured at the level of the District Election Officer. He said that as per the provisions of Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure by the District Magistrate, after the counting of votes, there will be a ban on events like victory procession, joyous firing, use of DJ vehicle, vehicle rally etc.