Counting of votes in the assembly elections to four states and one union territory is being taken up from 8 am on Thursday and the first trends are expected to be available after an hour.
Polling was held over a period of 10 weeks in West Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Puducherry.
Prior to the counting, chief election commissioner (CEC) Nasim Zaidi thanked voters and political parties and expressed satisfaction that elections were largely peaceful.
He also said that there was widespread use of black money, reports ANI.
In Tamil Nadu there was widespread use of black money, by surveillance,flying squads we were able to seize more than 110 crores:Nasim Zaidi— ANI (@ANI_news) May 19, 2016
Tight security arrangements are in place at the counting centres across the states.
Security tightened outside counting centre in Siliguri(West Bengal) pic.twitter.com/ImtFpJ9Cee— ANI (@ANI_news) May 19, 2016
BJP’s chief ministerial candidate for Assam, Sarbananda Sonowal offered prayers at the Uttar Kamlabari Satra temple in Majuli while Kerala CM Oommen Chandy visited the St. John’s church in Thiruvananthapuram on Thursday mornning.
The counting of votes will decide the fate of approximately 8,300 candidates including chief minister Tarun Gogoi in Assam and CM contender BJP’s Sarbananda Sonowal and Himanta Biswas, chief minister Jayalalithaa and Karunandhi in Tamil Nadu, chief minister Oommen Chandy, CPI(M) leaders V S Achutanandan and Pinarayi Vijayan in Kerala, chief minister Mamata Banerjee and CPI(M) Suryakanta Mishra in West Bengal and chief minister M Rangaswamy in Puducherry.
Exit polls suggested a summer of discontent against incumbent governments might sweep across Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Assam and Puducherry, leaving only the redoubtable Mamata Banerjee untouched in West Bengal.
(With inputs from ANI)