Palace City's ink link with polls is 50 years old

Palace City's ink link with polls is 50 years old

Indelible mark: Firm sends consignments for Assembly elections in 5 states

It is that time again when the city-based Mysore Paints and Varnishes Limited (MPVL) races against time.

With elections to five State assemblies drawing closer, workers at this factory - which has left its legendary ‘indelible mark’ on the country’s poll scenario - are working overtime to manufacture 3.92 vials of ink used to mark the finger nails of voters, an indicator that he or she has exercised the franchise.

The Election Commission came up with the idea of marking the finger of the voter with indelible ink five decades ago to prevent poll malpractices, after it received complaints that many people had cast their votes several times in the 1951 and 1957 polls.

The poll panel came up with the idea of marking the finger of the voter to overcome this problem and MPVL was selected to supply the required ink in the 1962 general elections.

The factory was established much earlier in 1937 by Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar. Initially, paints of various colours were produced. It was brought under the State government after the country gained independence.

The ink cannot be erased for 48 hours to 30 days. The National Physical Laboratory has certified that the ink is harmless to the health of the voters. It is supplied from Mysore whenever elections are held in any part of the country.

The first consignment of ink was sent on January 5 for the forthcoming elections in Punjab, Uttaranchal, Manipur and Goa. One lakh vials of ink is being supplied for the Uttar Pradesh elections.

More consignments are sent as and when the need arises. A 10-ml vial costs Rs 65.50 and is enough to mark the fingers of 750 people. MPVL supplies ink for elections against the orders placed by the poll panel.

25 countries
Another feather in MPVL’s cap is that there is demand for the ink produced there during elections in 25 countries including South Africa, Nepal, Turkey and Bhutan.

The MPVL is capable of supplying ink for all elections in the country. After ensuring this, priority is given to export the product, C Harakumar, General Manager (Administration) of MPVL, told Deccan Herald.

* Uttar Pradesh - 3.8 lakh vials
* Punjab - 48,000 vials
* Uttaranchal - 25,000 vials
* Manipur - 6,500 vials
* Goa - 5,000 vials