State ready for polling, arrangements elaborate: CEO
Elaborate arrangements have been made for a fair, free and peaceful polling on December 7 as part of the Telangana State’s first elections to its Assembly in the 119 Constituencies of Telangana State. The polling will take place from 7 am to 5 pm except in 13 Constituencies prone to trouble, where the timing will be from 7 am to 4 pm. The Chief Electoral Officer, Dr Rajat Kumar, has appealed to voters to exercise the franchise both as right and duty. While the voters in the State, after final rectification of the rolls, numbered 2,80,64,684 ( 1,41,56,182 males, 1,39,05,811 females and 2691 others) it is hoped that more than 70 per cent of them will exercise the franchise. Dr Rajat Kumar, said, the voting awareness campaign, undertaken in the State, was so vigorous and intense that overall polling percentage may take an upswing compared to 68.9 per cent registered in Telangana during the 2014 elections held in united Andhra Pradesh.
Representing several political parties, 1,821 candidates are in fray along with a few independents. Malkajgiri Constituency has the highest number of 42 contestants and Banswada the least, 6.
The CEO said, 44,415 ballot units 7,557 reserve ballot units, 32,016 control units 4,432 reserve control units and 32,016 VVPATs, 5,261 reserve VVPATs are being used for the polling. Over 240 engineers from BEL/ECIL, the makers of these machines, will be available, at least one in each Constituency to rectify the machines if they develop snags during the polling.
The CEO said, a majority of the 4,57,809 persons with disabilities (PwDs) who enrolled, are likely to vote due to the new awareness created among them, and the special facilities offered to them such as free transport, grilled ramps, wheel-chairs, no-queue observance and special parking slots. A total of 29,541 volunteers will assist them for voting.
The CEO said, each of the 32,815 polling stations will be manned by five personnel and one or two constables on an average. Strike/cracking forces are positioned at strategic points in the State to handle any untoward incidents. Two helicopters will be positioned in the State to airlift men and material wherever required and use them as ambulances following any medical emergency.
The present elections has several firsts in that this is first elections exclusively for Telangana after its formation. For the first time, VVPATs are being used for all the 119 Constituencies compared to the last time when these were used experimentally only in Palair Constituency.
Also, for the first time, software skills are extensively used for these polls. By downloading c-Vigil, any one could lodge complaint online against violations, and using Naa Votu, a voter could trace his polling stations, while Suvidha and Sugam, were used as single-window facility to get permission for meetings and utilising vehicles. So far, 8,071 complaints are received through c-Vigil and 5,872 of them disposed of.
A round the clock watch over the arrangements and code violations as listed in c-Vigil, is being kept by Dr Rajat Kumar through the “dedicated monitoring cell” activated in his office on Thursday manned by 17 Nodal Officers.