Hyderabad: The Election Commission of India (ECI) will hold polling booth-wise revision and verification of electoral rolls across 32,574 polling stations at village level in Telangana State on Saturday and Sunday. With the first lot of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) arriving in the State, the authorities are also gearing up to conduct EVM testing in the presence of representatives of all political parties.
Speaking to mediapersons at the State Secretariat on Friday, Telangana State Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Rajat Kumar said booth level officers (BLOs) have been appointed and necessary training has been given to carry out revision of electoral rolls till the date of issuing the notification. He pointed out that the Secondary Summary Revision (SSR) of electoral rolls was issued on January 1 this year and the list was furnished to all political parties.
The CEO said that for the first time in the State, elections will be held using VVPAT (Voter Verification Paper Audit Trail) machines enabling voters to check whether their vote has been cast to the candidate of their choice. While the first lot of EVMs arrived in the State, the entire requisition of EVMs comprising about 52,000 ballot units, 41,000 control units and 44,000 VVPAT machines was expected to arrive in the State by September 20. Commencing from September 24, a four-day special training will be conducted for the returning officers and assistant returning officers where only those who pass an examination held by the ECI will be deployed for duty.
“The entire State administration has been geared up for conducting the elections and necessary notification will be issued based only after the ECI is satisfied with the arrangements,” he said. The ECI will monitor the preparations on a real-time basis besides addressing the grievances of all political parties using Suvidha mobile app on first-come-first-serve basis.
Responding to questions, Rajat Kumar said polling booth-wise security mapping was being prepared by the police authorities and special focus was on candidates who were caught distributing money during the previous elections of all sorts. “We have seized Rs 76 crore during the previous elections. The sleuths of Income Tax and other departments are also being deployed to keep a check on the money expenditure,” he informed. Notices were being served to those who were caught distributing money during the previous elections.
The CEO explained that the ECI had expedited the entire polling process to complete the elections within the prescribed period of six months. A social media consultant was being appointed to monitor and lodge complaints with the cyber crimes cell of the State Police Department in case of violation of the Model Code of Conduct. Further, the toll free helpline number 1950 of ECI will be expanded with 30 lines to handle more calls.
Reacting over the fate of voters in seven mandals of Bhadrachalam and Ashwaraopeta Assembly constituencies of Telangana State which were merged with Andhra Pradesh, Rajat Kumar clarified that both the CEOs of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh have already submitted a report to the ECI which had forwarded the case to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs for further action. “With regard to delimitation of seven mandals, we will follow the due process prescribed by the Constitution. The ECI is seized of the matter and we will act according to its orders,” he assured.