THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Voting will be conducted using the latest model of Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) in the bypoll scheduled for five assembly constituencies of the state on October 21, Chief Electoral Officer Teeka Ram Meena has said. The third-generation ‘M3 EVMs’ have been requisitioned as certain technical issues cropped up during voting using second-generation EVMs during the recent Lok Sabha elections.
“There were slight technical problems with the old M2 model EVMs during the previous election. Hence we requested the Election Commission to despatch the latest models and accordingly, 200 per cent availability of M3 EVMs has been ensured for the bypoll,” Meena told reporters here on Tuesday.“More than double the number of EVMs will be set apart for each polling booth. For voting in the 896 polling stations in five constituencies, 1,810 EVMs and an equal number of VVPATs will be deployed,” Meena said.
Assessment of booths
As per the Election Commission’s preliminary assessment, two of the 896 polling stations in five constituencies have been identified as ‘critical’. While 58 have been earmarked as ‘sensitive’, another 51 polling stations have been identified as ‘vulnerable’. Webcasting of the polling will be done in 33 polling stations - 11 in Konni and 22 in Vattiyoorkavu. “However, the present classification of polling stations is subject to change after more security reviews in the run up to the elections,” Meena said.
The Election Commission has also appointed returning officers in all the five constituencies.
Now new transfers allowed
With the Model Code of Conduct in place, the poll panel has written to the government on the guidelines to be followed. No new transfer and postings will be allowed. Curbs will also be placed on the release of funds by MLAs and MPs for new development projects. However, funds can be released for works which have been completed, Meena clarified.Asked about frequent elections that hamper the development, Meena said these were the “side-effects” of democracy.He agreed that in a state like Kerala, there is very limited time to complete development works due to frequent elections. “There is an ongoing debate that one country, one election is always good,” Meena remarked in a lighter vein.
Strict action will be taken against polling officials who behave in a biased or partisan manner, the CEO warned. “Booth Level Officers or other election officials who tamper with the electoral roll without giving proper notice to the voter or fail to follow procedure will face action,” he said.Meena’s response came to a query regarding a complaint submitted to him by the BJP leadership on alleged mass deletion of names from voters’ list in Vattiyoorkavu assembly segment, allegedly with the support of the ruling party. Fresh applications for inclusion in the electoral roll, submitted till 10 days prior to the withdrawal of nominations by candidates, will be included in the supplementary voters’ list, he said.
Left to declare candidates in 2 days
T’Puram: The CPM will declare its candidates for the up coming bypolls in the next two days. The CPM state secretariat, which met here on Tuesday, went through the suggestions from local factions but did not take a final decision.
The secretariat, held in the presence of politburo member S Ramachandran Pillai, discussed the candidates’ names and their winning chances. The suggestions have been sent back to the districts. The district secretariats will now discuss the same. The state secretariat will again meet on Friday.
Thiruvananthapuram Mayor V K Prasanth continues to be the front-runner as Left candidate in Vattiyoorkavu. The name of Thiruvananthapuram district panchayat president V K Madhu is also on the cards.