Election Commission gears up for Assembly polls in State

Starts procuring EVMs from TN, Maharashtra, UP and Bihar

The Election Commission of India (ECI) appears to have begun the preparation for the State Assembly elections due in May this year.

The Office of Chief Electoral Officer, Karnataka, (OCEO) has decided to soon take up technical verification of electronic voting machines (EVMs). Besides, it is taking measures to procure EVMs from Tamil Nadu, Maharastra, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Karnataka Anil Kumar Jha said the entire process to procure EVMs and get them verified will be completed in a month’s time. Currently, there are about 50,446 polling booths in the State. The number is likely to go up after the revision of electoral rolls, which is underway. Normally, the OCEO procures 20 per cent more EVMs than the actual requirement as a precautionary measure. Recently, about 10,000 EVMs arrived from Tamil Nadu, he added.

A large number of EVMs was provided for Gujarat elections recently from Karnataka. Hence, the OCEO, Karnataka, has been mobilising the machines from other States. The State-owned Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) has been directed to conduct technical verification of the machines, which is likely to complete the work in about three weeks.

Demo of the machines

Once the verification is done, the machines will be demonstrated before the representatives of all political parties, he said.

“The ECI has directed not to use EVMs that are over six years old. We do not exactly know the reason for this direction. It may be because new machines will be in good condition. And the ECI’s direction is one of the reasons why the OCEO has been procuring a large number of EVM’s from outside,” he stated.

Jha said the OCEO has decided to drop the project to redraw the boundaries of all polling booths based on geographic information system as it was found unscientific. So there will be no change in the existing polling booth boundaries. The project was taken up to rationalise polling booths by fixing definite geographical landmarks like roads and drains of a particular locality. The aim was to make it easier for citizens to locate their polling stations and verify details in the voters’ list.

Revision of voters’ list

The process to revise the voters’ list in the State is in the final stage, and final electoral rolls pertaining to 178 assembly constituencies is scheduled to be published on January 16. The process to include names and make modifications, if any, in the voters’ list pertaining to another 46 assembly constituencies located in city corporation limits, has ended on January 4 and their list is scheduled to be published on January 28, the CEO said.

About six lakh applications for inclusion of names in the voters’ list have been received in Bangalore urban district, he added.

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