Friday, March 4, 2011

1.81 cr State voters to exercise franchise

Staff Reporter

 GUWAHATI, March 2 (Assam)

                                            Tarun Kumar Gogai

Over 1.81 crore voters will exercise their franchise in the Assembly polls in the State scheduled to be held in two phases on April 4 and 11.

The first phase, involving 62 constituencies, will have 84,88,386 electorates, the break-up being 43,78,456 males and 41,09,930 females. The figure for the second phase,involving 64 constituencies is 96,57,528, the break-up being 49,95,064 males and 46,62464 females.
The first phase will have 11,254 polling stations at 7,743 locations while the secondphase will have 12,559 polling stations at 7,910 locations.

The first phase will have 50, 9, and 3 constituencies for general, ST and SC respectively,while for the second phase the number is 52, 7 and 5, respectively.

Briefing media on the polls, Hemanta Narzary, Chief Electoral Officer, Assam, today said that the Election Commission (EC) was taking a number of measures in addition to those taken earlier to ensure that candidates comply with the expenditure norms.

“We are very strict this time and have put in place a detailed, stringent institutionalized monitoring mechanism. For the first time candidates will have to declare the assets of their dependents as well besides those of their wives, which would be examined by the Income Tax Department. There will be expenditure observers and video surveillance of every poll expenditure-related activity of the candidates. All material facts will then go to the accounting team against each candidate, while the Income Tax Department will monitor illegal flow of money,” Narzary revealed.
Narzary said that each candidate would have to open a separate account at a nationalized bank where his poll expenditures will be monitored. “There will be an expenditure monitoring room-cum-call centre in each district for entertaining complaints and making necessary inquiry. A flying squad comprising magistrates, police and paramilitary forces will also be there,” he said.
Stating that instructions had been issued to the administration and police for seizing all illegal arms, Narzary said that in the past month over 5,000 non-bailable warrants had been executed, bringing down the figure from 16,000-odd to 11,233.

“Police has been asked to send daily reports, and last week alone has witnessed the execution of 687 non-bailable warrants,” he added.

Narzary said that the EC would take serious note of any ‘paid news’ during the poll process, and candidates would be show-caused in such eventualities while the matter would also be taken up with the Press Council of India. “Exist polls will also not be allowed,” he said.
On the difficulties of the disabled to cast their votes, Narzary said that every polling station must have the necessary arrangement – even if temporary ones – to enable the disabled to exercise their franchise in a dignified manner in accordance with Supreme Court guidelines.
On security arrangements, Narzary said that additional companies were being sought and the “arrangements will be three times more than the last parliamentary polls”.
Additional CEO Mukesh Sahoo also addressed the press meet.

Courtesy: The Assam Tribune

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