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Election Commission to ensure Free, Fair & Transparent Assembly Elections in Punjab: Dr S Karuna Raju

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Patiala, October 27, 2021 (Yes Punjab News)
Chief Electoral Officer, Punjab, Dr S Karuna Raju said that the Election Commission of India would introduce a postal ballot facility for the senior citizens above 80 years, in forthcoming Assembly Elections of Punjab. He was interacting with the media, here, on Wednesday evening before taking a meeting of district officials to review poll preparedness.

He held a detailed meeting with District Electoral Officer Sandeep Hans, SSP Harcharan Singh Bhullar and Returning Officers at District Administrative Complex, Patiala.

Dr S Karuna Raju said that the Election Commission was fully prepared to hold the Assembly elections-2022 in Punjab. He said that in order to ensure faster, smarter, transparent and timely completion of election work with ease, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has introduced Garuda app for digital mapping of all polling stations by adding latitude and longitude by the Booth Level Officers.

He said that through this app, BLOs would upload photos and location information of the polling stations from their registered mobile numbers. He said that app would help to minimize the paper works and the BLOs would be able to add voter names, deletion of names or modification of addresses in the electoral roll. He said that the details of assured facilities including toilets, wheelchair, drinking water, electricity, sheds, chairs, ramps for differently-abled in polling booths would also be added there and can be checked online.

He said that special focus would be given on transgender persons to register them as voters. Similarly, women voters would be given special honour during polling to maintain their respect and dignity being a voter under the slogan ‘Your Vote, Your Power, Your Pride’.

He said that the draft publication of electoral rolls after completion of special summary revision would be done on November 1, 2021 and objections and claims can be submitted within a month before its final publication on January 5, 2022.

To sensitise voters about their rights, special SVEEP activities would be conducted across the state at booth, ward and village level, said Dr S Karuna Raju.

To thwart the apprehension of third wave of COVID-19, special arrangements like availability of sanitizers for voters, masks and gloves for the polling staff would be made. Moreover, seating arrangement by providing chairs or by issuing token during the polling, is also under consideration, added Chief Electoral Officer, Punjab.

He said that polling would be conducted through EVM-M3 version and VVPATs. To keep the election environment safe, secure and impartial, extra care would be taken by keeping a close tab on the criminal elements, said Dr S. Karuna Raju.

Chief Electoral Officer Punjab said that due to Covid-19 pandemic, number of polling booths have been enhanced to 24659 polling booths to 23211 booths but this figure is not static and booths could be enhanced in case need arises. He added that as many as 121 new booths have been this time for upcoming assembly elections in Patiala district, now number of booths has been increased to 1784 from 1663.

Dr S Karuna Raju said that the Commission was fully prepared for conducting the ensuing elections.

Further to ensure enrollment of every eligible voter, he asked the officers to run extensive awareness activities in their areas under Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) to encourage the voters to participate in the polls besides deleting dead voters and other logical errors.

Dr Karuna Raju had detailed interaction with the officers of the district administration to discuss election preparedness minutely. He also reviewed progress of the First Level Checking (FLC) of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and the Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) being carried out at Patiala.

Prominent among present on the occasion included Additional Deputy Commissioner (Urban Development) Gautam Jain, Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC) Gurpreet Singh Thind, SDM Patran Ankurjit Singh, SDM Patiala Charanjit Singh, SDM Samana Swati Tiwana, Joint Commissioner MC Avikesh Gupta SDM Nabha Kannu Garg, SDM Rajpura Khushdil Singh, Assistant Commissioner (UT) Chandra Jyoti Singh, Assistant Commissioner (G) Jasleen Kaur Bhullar, Assistant Commissioner (Grievances) Kiran Sharma and Election Tehsildar Ram Ji Lal.

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