The Jind bypoll verdict will come in a few hours from now. The counting of votes polled in the Jind byelection held on January 28 began at the multi-purpose Arjun Stadium in Jind at 8 am. Poll officials said the result would be out by afternoon.

As many as 14 tables have been set up for the counting of votes at the stadium, with each table managed by a supervisor and a counting assistant.

Returning Officer Virender Sehrawat said on Wednesday the counting would be completed in 13 rounds, adding that adequate staff was being deputed to seal the EVM machines and deposit them in the lock room after the counting of votes. He said 174 EVMs had been used at 174 booths for the Jind bypoll.

Sehrawat said the process of counting would be kept completely transparent. To see the complete process of counting, big LED screens would be installed outside the hall for the media.

The counting process will also be available online on the portal of the Election Commission of India. During the counting, nominated agents will be present on behalf of each candidate.

READ | High-stakes Jind bypoll — a four-corner contest

Stating that entry passes of the agents would be made, Sehrawat asked the candidates that they should appoint their counting agents and get their photo identity cards made besides getting their police verification process completed.

Nearly 75 per cent polling was recorded till 5 pm on the Jind bypoll on 28 January. In all, 21 candidates including two women were in the fray.

The verdict will hold much significance as it will not play indicator of the public mood ahead of the Lok Sabha and Haryana Assembly polls scheduled this year.

From the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to Opposition Congress, Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) and the newly formed Jannayak Janta Party (JJP) – all have made it a prestige issue to win this high-stakes bypoll in the heart of Haryana’s Jatland.

The seat fell vacant when sitting INLD legislator Hari Chand Middha, who won from Jind twice, passed away in August 2018. The BJP has fielded Middha’s son, Krishan Middha, as its candidate.

The Congress had fielded sitting MLA from Kaithal and party’s national spokesman Randeep Surjewala as its candidate. While the INLD has fielded local party leader Umed Singh, the JJP has fielded heavyweight Digvijay Chautala, great grandson of former Deputy Prime Minister Chaudhary Devi Lal.

Digvijay is the younger son of INLD chief Om Prakash Chautala’s elder son Ajay Singh Chautala who along with his two sons (Dushyant and Digvijay) were expelled from the party for their alleged anti-party activities late last year.

Jind has more than 1.7 lakh voters, including over 1.07 lakh urban voters and nearly 62,500 living in villages.