Counting of votes for the Vellore Lok Sabha constituency began at 8 am on Friday at a centre set up on the premises of an engineering college here, with a three-tier security paraphernalia, officials said.
The poll to the Vellore Lok Sabha seat, originally scheduled to be held in April alongside some other seats in Tamil Nadu, was cancelled following tax raids here and cash seizures.
Fresh polling was held on August 5. The constituency has 1.432 million voters spread in six Assembly segments and 71.51 per cent votes were polled. The EVMs, the control units and Voter-Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) devices were moved to Ranipet engineering college premises after the polls.
The votes are being counted in a tight security environment which includes deployment of 70 CCTV cameras on the college premises, 35 km from here.
The result are expected to be out by afternoon and will decide if the AIADMK retains the seat or arch rival DMK wrests it.
AIADMK's A C Shanmugam (chief of Puthiya Neethi Katchi, an ally of the ruling party) and DMK's D M Kathir Anand are the key contenders of the total 28 candidates in the fray.
District Election Officer and Collector A Shanmuga Sundaram who inspected the college premises ahead of counting said votes recorded in five VVPAT devices will be verified for each and every Assembly constituency and results will be declared following completion of this exercise.
The process will be held as per norms which mandates counting of postal votes as soon as counting begins, he told reporters.
The Gudiyattam Assembly segment has the maximum of 24 rounds, he pointed out.
The outcome of the result is crucial for the ruling AIADMK which strained every nerve in the campaign to the polls to retrieve political ground it lost to the DMK in Lok Sabha polls held in April.
The AIADMK campaign led by Chief Minister K Palaniswami accused the DMK of winning 38 Lok Sabha seats by hoodwinking people through assurances that can never be implemented.
Palaniswami had also said that DMK chief M K Stalin Stalin deceived people in the same way candies were offered to children.
The DMK, on its part, had accused the ruling AIADMK and its ally the BJP of having tried to prevent its victory in the polls held in April through false allegations linked to Income Tax searches and seizure of cash by authorities.