Counting of votes polled in the November 3 by-elections to Dumka and Bermo assembly seats in Jharkhand began at 8 am on Tuesday amidst tight security, election officials said.
Security personnel, including central forces, have been deployed at the counting centres and CCTVs have been installed, state joint chief electoral officer Hiralal Mandal said.
Counting personnel have been asked to adhere to the COVID-19 protocol, Mandal said.
Votes will be counted in 18 rounds in Dumka and 17 rounds in Bermo seat in Bokaro district. The process is expected to be completed by 3 pm, he said.
Around seven-eight companies of security forces each have been deployed in the two districts, officials said.
The fate of 12 candidates in Dumka and 16 nominees in Bermo will be decided during the day.
Both seats are likely to witness direct contests.
Chief Minister Hemant Soren's younger brother Basant Soren will battle BJP candidate and former cabinet minister Lois Marandi in Dumka.
In Bermo, sitting Congress MLA Rajendra Singh's son Anoop Singh will contest BJP's Yogeshwar Mahato.
The by-elections were necessitated after the chief minister vacated the Dumka seat and retained his other Barhait constituency, while Rajendra Singh died due to an illness.
Around 62.51 per cent of total 5.63 lakh voters had exercised their franchise in the by-elections to the two seats.