Election Commission team to review poll readiness next week

An Election Commission of India (ECI) team is likely to take up a two-day review of the state's preparedness for the Assembly polls, next week.

A team headed by Senior Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha is expected to visit Karnataka on March 27 and hold meetings with political parties, district election officers (deputy commissioners), regional commissioners and heads of various departments such as police and excise.  

This could be the penultimate review before Chief Election Commissioner Om Prakash Rawat pays a visit to Karnataka for a final review, sources said.

At present, authorities are finalising GIS mapping of polling stations in all the 224 Assembly constituencies and, mock polls on the electronic voting machines (EVM) are underway.

There was a gap of 33-40 days from the date of notification of the elections recently in Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland till the entire poll process was completed.

On Thursday, the office of the chief electoral officer (OCEO) unveiled its first promotional video for the upcoming polls. The 49-second video seeks to project EVMs as fool-proof and instill confidence among voters. "EVM...not just a machine. It's a symbol of India's trust," is how the video ends. This comes amid doubts on EVMs that the ruling Congress and the JD(S) have raised.  

Karnataka will require 85,650 EVMs, of which 67,650 will come from Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh and the remaining 18,000 will be procured from Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand and defence PSU Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL).

The 2018 Assembly polls will see the introduction of the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT), on which voters can see the votes they cast on a printout.

The VVPAT prints a physical slip that is displayed for about six seconds, allowing the voter to verify the vote. The Election Commission of India will deploy 73,700 VVPATs for the polls.

Filmmaker-lyricist Yogaraj Bhat has penned an anthem for the 2018 polls with V Harikrishna scoring music and noted singer Vijay Prakash lending his voice. Video for the 3.5-minute-long song will feature 150 artistes showcasing Karnataka's cultural and historic heritage and will be released in the first week of April, sources said.

 

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