New Delhi: The counting of votes for the Assembly elections held in Kerala, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Assam, and Pondicherry and by-polls to the high profile Lok Sabha constituency of Rae Bareli, is being held amidst tight security on Thursday.
The early trends in Tamil Nadu indicate that DMK has forged lead and is headed for a comfortable majority.
DMK supremo Karunanidhi is leading from his constituency Chepauk.
The party workers are celebrating outside the Secretariat in Chennai.
"After so much hardwork one obviously wants good results. It won't just be personal victory," Karunanidhi's daughter, Kanimozhi, says.
Incumbent Chief Minister and AIADMK chief J Jayalalithaa was leading from her constituency Andipatti. "I do not want to make further comments until the results are out," she said when told about the DMK lead.
Counting of votes began at 0800 hours IST at hundreds of heavily guarded centres in the four states and the Union Territory.
Central paramilitary forces are assisting the state police in maintaining vigil during the counting.
Three tier security arrangements have been made at all counting centres in West Bengal to prevent entry of unauthorised persons. The state police will patrol the outermost ring, while the paramilitary forces will guard the two inner rings.
At 97 counting centres in West Bengal, 60 companies of central forces are being deployed in addition to 20 companies already guarding rooms where electronic voting machines are kept.
In Tamil Nadu, 284 special observers have been put on charge to monitor the counting process, which is spread over 60 towns.
Special arrangements have been made at the media centre at the Secretariat for announcement of results of all the 234 constituencies of the state.
According to official source, while the first trends in West Bengal will be available from 0010 hours (IST), in Pondicherry, it will be available an hour earlier at 0900 hours IST.
Tight security has been provided at the Bharatidasan College where counting would take place for 21 constituencies out of the 30 Assembly constituencies.
Elaborate security arrangements have also been made at the nine counting centres located in Karaikal where counting will take place for six constituencies, Mahe (two constituencies) and Yanam (one).
The fate of 997 contestants in the fray for 126 seats in Assam will also be known on Thursday when counting begins under tight security at the counting centres.
The Left is all set to stage a comeback to power in Kerala and the ruling United Democratic Front is up for a Requiem Mass. Tight security has been provided at all the counting centres in Kerala.
The use of electronic voting machines have ensured that the counting takes place without any glitches.
Moreover, for accurate counting of votes the returning officer will prepare a statement after each round of counting, which will be verified by the election observer.
The results of every round will be immediately displayed on a notice board and announced on a public address system.
After the final list is compiled, the observer will compare it with the round-wise break-up.
The Election Commission has created a 'Special Home Page' on its website for counting and would give news flashes with round-wise details of trend, they said.
A new feature, 'Dynamic Maps', based navigation of all five states, would be available on the website giving the details of trend of votes and final results constituency-wise, they said.
The commission would provide constituency-wise details of the results on its website.
These would be available in English, Hindi, Tamil, Malayalam and Bangla languages, they added.
(With inputs from ANI and PTI)