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Maha, Goa Bar Council count starts; 79% rural turnout dwarfs city

Ballot boxes
Ballot boxes

The first ballot boxes were unsealed for electronic counting yesterday at the Bar Council offices near Bombay High Court, kicking off the long count to find the winners of the Bar Council of Maharashtra and Goa elections.

Maharashtra & Goa Bar Council secretary and returning officer Varsha Rokade said: "We've just begun counting - it is computerised but feeding of the ballot papers is manual. We are expecting it to take around two months."

Counting commences in a reverse order to which ballot boxes were first received, with the Pune city and district ballots being dealt with first.

In the city of Pune a total of 3,756 votes were cast out of 8,020 voters – a turnout of only 46 per cent.

By contrast rural turnout was 79 per cent across the 10 other Pune district polling booths outside the city, with 1,338 votes having been cast out of 1,702 total eligible voters.

Manual counting of the almost 56,000 unused ballot papers has now confirmed the total number of votes cast at 47,543, which were all collected in sealed ballot boxes in Mumbai.

Although the final count will be done electronically by voting machines, other manual counting rounds are first used to separate the invalid votes and could also provide early indications of first preference votes cast.

Yesterday counting took place between 10:30am and 4:30pm.

ALMT Legal partner Hitesh Jain is the only law firm lawyer to be competing in the Maharashtra & Goa elections.

He is based in Mumbai although he originally comes from Pune.

Shortly after the close of polling on 8 January Jain said that he was expecting to win a "substantial" number of first preference votes after strong turnout in Pune and Mumbai.

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