New Delhi: Undeterred by exit polls which predicted a BJP sweep in the Lok Sabha polls, Opposition parties have quietly firmed up plans to stake claim in case the BJP falls short of a majority after counting of votes on Thursday. The Opposition parties, including the Congress, have prepared two sets of letters to be presented to President Ram Nath Kovind before the verdict day ends.
Sources said that the letters would be used only if trends by mid-afternoon show that the BJP is falling short of the majority mark. A top Opposition leader said that if the numbers are favourable then a leader of the 22-party grouping would also be decided by Thursday night.
The draft of the first letter has already been prepared and sent to all the 22 parties.
In case of a mismatch, the results based on paper slip count will be considered as final.
The entire exercise of EVM-paper trail machine matching will take an additional four to five hours, EC officials said.
The commission is learnt to have also decided to count postal ballots simultaneously with EVM count due to the “sheer size” of ballots — 16.49 lakh — received this time from service voters.
The exercise of counting postal ballots manually will itself take a couple of hours at least, an EC official said.
The EC has also come up with a new IT based initiative, which will provide on its website real-time trends and results of the vote counting across the states/UTs.
The counting trends and results will be available on the EC website as well as on voter helpline apps. For the first time, the citizens can use a smart phone to know the results. They can use the available filter to find out details about winning/leading or trailing candidate, along with constituency-wise or state-wise results on the voter helpline app.
Voting for the parliamentary elections was staggered between April 11 and May 19 in which a record 67.11 per cent of the nearly 900 million eligible people exercised their franchise.
In the 2014 elections, the BJP won 282 seats while the Congress had suffered a severe drubbing getting an all-time low of 44 seats as against 206 it won in 2009.
From “Chowkidar Chor Hai” and “Bhrashtachari No. 1” to “Khaki underwear”, acerbic remarks ruled the roost this election season, making it one of the most bitterly-contested parliamentary polls since Independence.
Out of the 543 Lok Sabha seats, elections were held in 542 constituencies as the EC had cancelled polls to the Vellore constituency on the ground of excessive use of money power.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, several Union ministers, Cong-ress president Rahul Gandhi, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and SP chief Akhilesh Yadav are among key leaders who contested the polls....