Counting of votes for all 11 Lok Sabha seats in Chhattisgarh began at 27 centres, one each at every district headquarters, at 8 am on Thursday.

Elaborate security arrangements have been made at the counting centres, particularly those in Naxal-hit areas, state Chief Electoral Officer Subrat Sahoo told PTI.

The postal ballots are being counted first, followed by the electronic voting machines (EVMs), he said.

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.

Total 166 candidates, including three sitting Congress MLAs, wife of the incumbent Assembly speaker, and state BJP vice-president, contested the polls in the state.

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 said his party has deployed members of its legal cell at all the counting centres to keep a tab on any “mischievous activity”.

Of the 11 Lok Sabha seats in the state, four are reserved for Scheduled Tribes and one for Scheduled Caste candidates.