Poll preparedness going the right way: EC team

Delegation to assess basic preparations for elections concludes two-day visit

The stage appears to be set for early election in the State with the high-level team deputed by the Election Commission of India to study the poll preparedness claiming that “its assessment of basic preparations for elections in the State revealed that they are going in the right way”.

The team, which held elaborate discussions with the officials at different levels during the two-day visit that concluded on Wednesday, said that “it will give submit its report instantaneously to the Election Commission”. Asked whether the Commission had set any deadline for submission of the report, senior Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha said: “Preparations have by and large started in the State and we will give our report instantaneously as we go back to Delhi.”

Mr. Sinha led the multi-disciplinary team of the EC comprising members handling electoral rolls, electronic voting machines and those dealing with the expenditure-related affairs to assess the situation consequent on the dissolution of the Legislative Assembly on September 6. The team held detailed deliberations with representatives of national and recognised political parties in the State on Tuesday and this was followed by series of meetings with the district-level officials and Chief Secretary S.K. Joshi and DGP M. Mahender Reddy on Wednesday.

He said the political parties raised the issue of deletion of names of large number of voters in different parts of the State. The State election officials from the booth-level officers had accordingly been directed to undertake field-level visits in the light of the announcement of revision schedule of the special summary revision of electoral rolls to ensure that all eligible voters were included in the voters’ lists.

“The district officers will forthwith mount efforts to visit every household and ensure that mistakes like deletion of names of genuine voters from the electoral rolls are rectified,” he said. The team had also assessed the law and order situation in the State as well as requirement of security forces. Sensitivities like influence of money in the elections and availability of the wherewithal to check these incidents were reviewed.

The election authority, on its part, had circulated the soft and hard copies of the electoral rolls to all political parties. These parties had been asked to appoint booth-level agents in the right earnest so that gaps in the names of voters at the booth level could be identified and corrections could be made accordingly. “Political parties pointed to a general figure relating to deletion of names, but we cannot say a definite number unless field verification is done,” he said in reply to criticism from a section of political parties that more than 30 lakh votes went missing in the electoral rolls.

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