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Kerala Assembly polls: Election Commission issues polling guidelines, all you need to know

ANI | Updated: Apr 06, 2021 03:10 IST

New Delhi [India], April 6 (ANI): The Election Commission of India on Monday has listed down the necessary details and issued guidelines for voters in Kerala ahead of Assembly elections on Tuesday.
The polling for all the 140 assembly constituencies of Kerala will be conducted across 40,771 polling stations today. The total number of electors in the State is 2,74,46,039 which include 1,32,83,724 males, 1,41,62,025 females and 290 transgender. The number of service voters this year is 57,160.
This year there are a total of 957 candidates. And the total number of polling personnel this year is 2,02,402. 97 per cent of all polling personnel have been vaccinated.
"As per standard procedure, all the EVMs and VVPATs have already undergone the First Level of Checking (FLC), randomization, and commissioning in the presence of political parties/candidates agents," read a release by the Election Commission.
During FLC and during commissioning each of these EVMs and VVPATs had undergone mock polls.
On the poll day, before the start of the poll, each of the EVMs and VVPATs will once again undergo a mock poll in the presence of polling agents of the candidates with minimum 50 votes cast on each, as per the standard procedure. At the end of the mock poll, the result of EVM will be matched with the result of VVPAT slips and shown to the polling agents.
The Commission has laid great emphasis on ensuring a transparent and vigilant mechanism for COVID safe, intimidation free and inducement free elections amidst tight security arrangements.
Polling across Assembly Constituencies will be conducted under strict security arrangements. Election Commission has laid out an elaborate security plan to ensure the smooth and safe conduct of elections.
Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) along with the local police force have been deployed to ensure a peaceful, intimidation free and conducive atmosphere for the smooth conduct of elections in a free, fair, inclusive and accessible manner.
Route marches in vulnerable pockets, regular point patrolling and other Confidence Building Measures were carried out to reassure voters, especially those belonging to the weaker sections of society. Force deployment in the Assembly segments has been done under the supervision of the Central Observers deputed by the Commission.
As a major push for conducting free and fair elections, live monitoring and webcasting of more than 50 per cent of polling stations (20,441) including critical and vulnerable polling booths has been put in place as per the ECI norms, to ensure a safe and secure atmosphere in polling areas. The Commission, the Chief Election Commissioner (CEO), District Election Officers (DEOs), and observers can watch live streaming and keep a close watch on these polling booths.
As per the Commission's instruction police officials including CAPF personnel will not go inside the polling booth unless required by Presiding Officer due to law and order problem. It is the standing instruction of the Commission that outsiders will not be allowed in the areas of poll going assembly constituencies during the silence period i.e. 48 hours before the end of polling hours.
DEOs and SPs have been given instructions during briefings that this instruction should be strictly adhered to. The Commission had reiterated this instruction in the briefing of DEOs and police officials. These guidelines are being strictly and rigorously followed.
To ensure inclusive and accessible elections, ECI has extended the option of postal ballot facility to PwDs, Senior Citizens above the age of 80 years, COVID-19 suspect or affected persons and persons employed in essential services.
All the polling stations will follow COVID-19 safety protocols. For the safety of the voters and the election officials, at all polling stations were sanitized a day prior to poll and the facility of thermal scanning, hand sanitisers, face masks have also been made available at the polling stations.
Proper arrangements for social distancing have been put in place. Booth Level Officers (BLOs) and volunteers will monitor and regulate strict compliance of social distancing norms at the polling stations. At the last hour of poll, polling will be conducted in full Covid-19 protective gear, with proper COVID-19 protocols and supervision of health authorities.
In all polling stations, Assured Minimum Facilities (AMF) like drinking water, waiting shed, toilet with water facility, adequate arrangements for lighting, ramp of an appropriate gradient for a wheelchair for PwD electors and a standard voting compartment etc. have been made available at all the Polling Stations. Arrangements like transport facility, volunteers assisting Persons with Disability and senior citizens will also be available at all Polling Stations.
Election Commission of India's cVIGIL App is a citizen-centric mobile application that empowers people to report cases of MCC violations in a real-time basis, with auto-populated details of location and responded within 100 minutes after verification at field level. In this phase of poll, a total number of 160219 cases of Model Code of Conduct violations were reported through the cVIGIL app out of which 1,56,459 cases have been disposed of as of 6.30 pm.
A record seizure of Rs. 82.36 crore has already been achieved from Kerala as on April 4, 2021. The seizure figure includes seizure of cash, liquor, narcotics, freebies etc.
The Commission has been laying specific emphasis on inducement free elections and curbing the malaise of undue money power, liquor, and freebies. For effective monitoring, a total 540 Flying Squads (FS) and 578 Static Surveillance Teams (SST) were operationalised to check movement of cash, liquor, drugs and freebies in Kerala and they were closely supervised by DEOs, expenditure observers in districts and special observers. A total of 4 Air Intelligence Units (AIU) of the IT Department has also been set up at different stations in Kerala.
Election Commission of India expresses gratitude to the entire electoral machinery including polling staff on duty, security personnel, supervisory staff, observers, special observers railway authorities, enforcement agencies as also the Health authorities for making comprehensive arrangements and dedicatedly working towards the conduct of free, fair, transparent and safe elections despite pandemic. The Commission solicits active cooperation, close collaboration and constructive partnership from all stakeholders including media for conducting peaceful elections in the State. (ANI)