THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: After Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, now the voters in Kerala also won’t be allowed to take selfies or use mobile phones inside the polling stations in Kerala as the Election Commission (EC) has banned the use of mobile phones during voting in the polling stations across the state. The ban was imposed by the Election Commission owing to the bans laid down in other states.
Speaking to Express, Chief Electoral Officer, Teeka Ram Meena said that only the officials who are deployed for the election duty and the police officers on duty will be allowed to carry mobile phones that also only within 100 metres of the booth. This decision was taken by the Election Commission to avoid any law and order issues at the polling stations.
The Election Commission had issued the standing order regarding the ban on using mobile phones in the polling stations in the year 2007. However, the implementation was not made strict during that time. But for the upcoming polls, the use of mobile phones will be strictly banned. The mobile phones will be banned within the 100 metres of all the 24,970 polling stations across the state and in the Thiruvanananthapuram district it will be banned in all the 2,715 polling stations.
Meena said there won’t be any storage facility provided for the voters who carry their mobile phones to the booth. They can hand over mobiles at the help desk during voting. But only few voters are aware of the ban. The EC will also be creating awareness among the public in this regard.
Voters are not happy about ban on mobile use on voting days. “Technology has evolved and everyone carries a mobile phone with them whenever they step out of their homes. There should be a valid reason why the ban has been imposed before making such rules. If no alternative is provided, then the rule cannot be followed,” said Baburaj Asariya, a film director. Though many have opposed the decision of the Election Commission, there are other voters who have agreed to it. “I think the use of mobile phones for some time can be avoided provided the counters to keep our valuables is made available in the booths,” said Annie Stephen, a teacher.