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It’s 4th June today, the day for the verdict on the longest LS poll

The nation’s verdict on the 18th Lok Sabha elections will be available early on Tuesday, setting in process the formation of a new government at the Centre.

It’s 4th June today, the day for the verdict on the longest LS poll

After campaign and polling amid heat waves of the past six weeks, and the surprise and dismay over exit poll predictions, the nation’s verdict on the 18th Lok Sabha elections will be available early on Tuesday, setting in process the formation of a new government at the Centre.

Counting centres across the nation on Monday saw hectic activity to conduct the counting of votes in a smooth and flawless manner. There were extensive drills on how the operation would go on Tuesday, beginning 8 am. Several layers of security and provision of air coolers will ensure that the counting personnel work in a secure and comfortable manner.

Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar assured the nation that the entire counting mechanism is “robust” and the whole process is codified in a certain manner so that no error can be found in the whole procedure.

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He said, “Every part is decided. The whole process is codified. Microobservers are in place. There cannot be any mistake in this process. Lakhs of people including counting officials, counting agents, micro-observers, returning officers, assistant returning officers, observers will be present during the world’s largest counting exercise.”

The BJP-led NDA Government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the prime stakeholder in the current election and exit polls have shown he could achieve a hat trick to become the nation’s prime minister for a third consecutive term.

Mr Modi has been a Member of Parliament (MP) from Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi, from where he contested his maiden Lok Sabha election in 2014, and now contested the seat for the third time. His main challenger is Mr Ajay Rai, the Congress party’s state unit chief, who came third in both 2014 and 2019 polls.

The prime minister conducted one of the most extensive election campaigns ever seen in general elections, his catch-point was the nation was not just electing members of Parliament; this was a moment to elect the nation’s leadership, a prime minister who would steer a vast nation waking up to its forgotten strength, and ensure its rightful place in an ever competitive world.

Mr Modi was down to earth in his speeches and communicated with the electorate in as much diversity as different regions of the country presented. As prime minister, he asked people whether they had benefited from the welfare schemes. As a political leader, he told the voters the immense power their votes carried. His advice was they must break all previous records of voting and ensure the momentum of development experienced by them continues.

The Congress-led INDIA, a combination of several major regional parties, challenged the BJP-led NDA government, and tried hard to counter the BJP campaign, stressing anti-incumbency factors suffered by the Government.

The political alliance could not overcome its obvious contradictions, in spite of the length of the seven-phase polling, though it united quickly to contest the accuracy of the Exit Polls as they came. Till the end of the campaign, it could not answer convincingly who could be its leader against Mr Modi.

The festival of democracy that the 18th Lok Sabha was called, however, had massive participation of voters both in political rallies and the voting day. This was despite the oppressive May heat that seemed to get worse every few days.

Days before the counting of votes, the exit polls generated much interest about southern states, and how they must have voted. The parties in power in States from Kerala to Tamil Nadu, along with Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, fought the BJP campaigns and declined to give up. It may take just a few hours of counting on Tuesday to bring out the results of the campaigns there.

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