By 12 noon, a final picture could emerge on who would be the major players in the five states. Election Commission officials said counting of votes, to commence at 8 AM, will be over by 3 PM.
    
According to Election Commission guidelines, half-an-hour after the postal ballots are counted, the process of counting votes from the EVMs begins.
    
The 'ballot unit' is switched on in the presence of senior poll officials and counting agents of candidates and the result command keyed in to get results per machine.
    
Where a paper trail audit or 'voter-verified paper audit trail' (VVPAT) has been used, the counting agent can call for a count of the paper slips in the drop box attached to the voting machine, but a final count is taken by the returning officer.

Once the results are declared, the names of the winning candidates will find mention in the gazette. The gazette notification will initiate the process to form the next legislative assemblies in the states.
    
According to various exit polls shown on TV channels on May 16, Assam, Tamil Nadu and Kerala have voted for change giving BJP its first government in the northeastern state dislodging Congress which also lost Kerala while DMK was set to regain power trouncing AIADMK.
    
Only West Bengal has bucked the trend by re-electing Trinamool Congress led by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee who managed to hold on to power by defeating the Left-Congress alliance convincingly for a second consecutive term, the polls showed.
    
The Congress could take solace from its projected victory in the tiny Union Territory of Puducherry where it is likely to get power in alliance with the DMK. The Exit poll results were released at the end of the polling in Tamil Nadu and Kerala on Monday, marking the closure of voting in five states.

 

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