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10.04 lakh electors to exercise their franchise

There are 324 candidates in the fray for 30 seats in the Union Territory; CEO appeals to all voters to participate in the process

An estimated 10.04 lakh electors, including 31,864 first-time voters, have been registered to exercise their franchise for the 15th general election to the Puducherry Legislative Assembly, across 30 constituencies on April 6.

Chief Electoral Officer Shurbir Singh told a press conference on Sunday that the size of the electorate was 10,04,57 voters — 4,72,341 men, 5,31,383 women and 116 transgender.

There are 11,915 PwD (Persons with Disability) voters and 17,041 voters above the age of 80. Polling will take place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. The CEO appealed to all voters to participate in the electoral process.

Overall, there are 324 candidates in the fray for the 30 seats. There are 70 candidates of recognised political parties, 254 Independents, three women candidates of recognised parties and 35 other women candidates.

Law and order situation

Towards ensuring an incident-free election, 40 companies of the Central Armed Police Forces are assisting local police (2,420 personnel), IRBn (901) and Home Guards (1490). While 27 CAPF companies are positioned in Puducherry, six are deployed in Karaikal, four in Yanam and three in Mahe.

The Elections Department has marked for tighter security and CAPF deployment in 330 vulnerable polling stations (278 in Puducherry, 30 in Karaikal, 14 in Yanam and eight in Mahe) and 16 critical polling stations in Yanam. IP cameras would be installed outside polling stations to monitor critical events and web-casting done from all stations.

Polling infrastructure

The polling infrastructure comprises 1,558 control units, 1,677 ballot units and 1,558 VVPATs. Further, two ballot units each would be deployed in Ozhukarai and Nellithope, where 16 candidates are in the fray. Besides, one all-women polling station would be set up in each constituency and these would be governed by women.

The CEO said EVM-VVPATs would be used in all polling stations in this election. There are 1,558 polling stations (952 main and 606 auxiliary), across 635 locations in the Union Territory.

A team of 6,835 polling personnel, including 2,833 women officials and 719 Central Government employees will be on poll duty.

Braille ballots are also available with presiding officers and visually challenged electors would be allowed to seek assistance of a companion to cast vote. In all, 78 voters have been provided with Braille EPIC.

To date, 2,928 electors above 80 years, 1,546 PwDs, 34 COVID-affected persons, 68 essential service personnel and 8,117 polling staff have exercised franchise through postal ballots.

Though voter slips have been distributed to electors, that alone would not suffice as identification to be able to cast their votes. Electors have to produce either EPIC or any one of the 11 alternate documents prescribed by the ECI at the time of voting.

As part of election expenditure monitoring, unaccounted cash, illicit liquor, precious metal and other items, worth ₹36 crore, had been seized so far and 88 FIRs filed. In addition to this, 128 cases have been charged relating to violation of model code of conduct.

In all, 105 flying squads, 105 static surveillance teams, 26 rolling static surveillance units and 35 video surveillance teams had been constituted in the Union Territory. Besides, 35 check posts were set up.

The ECI had appointed 10 General Observers, an equal number of Expenditure Observers, two Special Expenditure Observers, four Police Observers and one special Police Observer for the election. In addition, 230 micro observers were also appointed.

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