Counting of votes for all 11 Lok Sabha seats in Chhattisgarh will be held at 27 centres in the state on Thursday amid tight security.
The state recorded 71.48 per cent voter turnout in the 11 Lok Sabha seats where voting was held in three phases on April 11, 18 and 23.
“The counting of votes will start at 8 am on Thursday at 27 centres – one each at 27 district headquarters of the state. All preparations have been completed for the counting,” state Chief Electoral Officer Subrat Sahoo told PTI.
Tight security arrangements have been made at the counting centres, particularly those in Naxal-hit areas, he said.
The postal ballots will be counted first, followed by the electronic voting machines (EVMs), he said.
The fate of 166 contestants, including three sitting Congress MLAs, wife of the incumbent Assembly speaker, and state BJP vice-president, will be decided on Thursday.
In the last three Lok Sabha polls since 2004, the BJP won 10 out of 11 seats in the state.
State Congress spokesman Shailesh Nitin Trivedi dismissed the exit poll predictions which have forecast a victory for the BJP-led NDA, saying they were just based on assumptions.
“The way exit poll predictions proved wrong during the state Assembly polls, the Lok Sabha elections this time will also see the same conclusion. The Congress is hoping to win all 11 seats in the state,” he said.
The Congress has deployed members of its legal cell at all the counting centres to keep a tab on any “mischievous activity”, he added.
However, state BJP chief Vikram Usendi said he is confident that his party will win more seats than predicted by the exit polls.
“People have voted for the work done by the government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. In Chhattisgarh also, we will all 11 seats,” he asserted.
Of the 11 Lok Sabha seats in the state, four are reserved for Scheduled Tribes and one for Scheduled Caste candidates.