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What will happen after the election commission finishes counting all Lok Sabha votes?

What will happen after the election commission finishes counting all Lok Sabha votes?
It is a momentous day for the country as we finally enter the vote-counting phase of the 2024 Lok Sabha election process on June 4. The 80-day, seven-phase-long process has been marred with a wide range of issues ranging from weather turmoil to vote tampering and reelections. As the final leg of counting concludes in a few hours, here’s what the vote tallying process looks like, and what is likely to happen after after the final results are announced.
Vote counting
While the election process takes place in several stages, the vote tallying process is carried out simultaneously in all of the country’s 543 constituencies, with typically one counting centre in each. The tallying is done by a ‘Returning Officer’ and their assistants — officials appointed by the Election Commission of India — in several rounds, or ‘leads’.

This year, the counting process began at 8 AM IST on June 4, and is expected to carry on till beyond the afternoon. It will start with the tallying of postal ballots — ballot papers distributed to some categories of people — followed by the EVM count. Periodically, the results of the ongoing count are announced to the media and then televised, helping the nation learn of the current political trend.
The counting process for the Lok Sabha Election
Under Rule 54 A of the Conduct of Elections Rules 1961, the process for counting votes starts with postal ballots at the Returning Officer's (RO) table. Thirty minutes into postal ballot counting, Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) votes can be counted, or immediately if no postal ballots are present.

Counting officials must ensure that the EVM's Control Unit (CU) seal is intact and that the total votes match Form 17C before counting. Results from the CU are recorded in Part-II of Form 17C, and verified by the counting supervisor, micro observer, and candidate agents. If the CU's display fails, VVPAT slips are counted post-CU counting.

Results for each CU are documented and signed in Form 17C, which is then sent for compiling the final result in Form 20. VVPAT slip counting starts after CU votes are counted, with mandatory verification of VVPAT slips from five random polling stations per constituency. If the victory margin is less than the rejected postal ballots, those ballots are re-verified before declaring the result. In case of a tie, the winner is determined by a draw of lots.
Results are announced
The outcome for each constituency is announced as soon as counting concludes. As per India’s counting system, the candidate with the highest number of votes will win for a particular constituency, regardless of whether they are able to manage a majority. These results are generally televised throughout the day.

After the Election Commission of India (ECI) has tallied all 64 crore votes that were cast this year, the constitutional body will announce the results for all 543 seats. Subsequently, if the winning party of the alliance has secured at least 272 seats, the institution’s president will call upon the leader of the winning party to form a government for the next five-year term.

If no group is able to achieve a clear majority, political parties may form coalitions to reach the 272 magic number. If all negotiations fail and a “minority government” cannot be formed by the largest party, the President of India may dissolve the Lok Sabha (lower house of Parliament) and announce fresh elections. The next Lok Sabha must be announced before the current term ends on June 16.

Most exit polls have indicated another landslide victory for the Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance, with a third term for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. However, early trends suggest that the Congress-led INDIA bloc is performing far better than expected. Results are expected to be clearer by the afternoon.

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