Counting of the ballots cast in the July 17 presidential election will be taken up here on Thursday to decide the fate of two contenders — the ruling NDA's candidate Ram Nath Kovind, who has a clear edge, and the combined Opposition nominee Meira Kumar.

Officials said all preparations have been made for the vote count and that all ballot boxes have already reached Parliament House by Tuesday evening amid tight security. 

They said the counting will begin at 11 a.m. simultaneously across four tables. There will be eight rounds of counting, and announcements made after every round.

Polling to choose the successor to President Pranab Mukherjee, who demits office on July 24, was held simultaneously at 32 polling stations — one in Parliament House and one each in 29 state assemblies and two union territories with assemblies. 

Lok Sabha Secretary General Anoop Mishra is the Returning Officer for the election, and will issue the certificate to the winning candidate. 

Officials said the seals of ballot boxes will be opened on Thursday in the presence of representatives of the two candidates — former Bihar Governor Kovind and former Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar — and the observers of the Election Commission. 

In Monday's polling, several states registered 100 per cent polling. The overall poll percentage was pegged at 99.41 per cent. A total of 776 members of Parliament and 4,120 legislators were eligible to cast votes. 

In the electoral arithmetic, Kovind has a distinct advantage over his rival as parties like the Janata Dal-United and the Biju Janata Dal, otherewise not allied with the Bharatiya Janata Party, had decided to vote for him.

The Janata Dal-United has about 1.91 per cent of electoral college votes, while the BJD of Odisha has 2.99 per cent. 

In addition, the ruling Telengana Rashtra Samithi in Telangana (two per cent), different factions of AIADMK (5.39 per cent), and the YSR Congress (1.53 per cent) also had announced their backing for Kovind.

The value of vote of an MP is 708 while that of an assembly member varies from state to state depending on the size of its population. 

The total value of votes of the presidential electoral college is 10,98,903, and the NDA candidate is slated to get over 63 per cent votes. 

In the last presidential election in 2012, Pranab Mukherjee had defeated P.A. Sangma and got over 69 per cent votes.