Telangana CEO Rajat Kumar at a press meet on Friday | Express
HYDERABAD: Elections to the Telangana state Assembly would be held only after the completion of election-related preparatory work which is going on at a brisk pace all over the state as per the directions of the Election Commission of India (ECI), state chief electoral officer Rajat Kumar has said.
He said polls should be held within six months of dissolution of Assembly but the ECI would decide when to hold polls after assessing the preparedness. ECI was monitoring on the preparations, he said.For holding the polls, certain statutory requirements need to be met such as preparation of electoral rolls, elected-related work, drafting of polling staff and officials and providing training to polling staff, procuring EVMs and Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPATs), a method of providing feedback to voters using a ballotless voting system and other required logistics. Poll-ralted work is going on in all the 31 districts and the ECI is closely monitoring it, and tracking the movement of EVMs and VVPATs being dispatched to the state.
Compared to the 2014 polls, there is a 10 percent increase in the supply of EVMs to the state. As many as 52,100 Balloting Units (BUs) and 41,000 Controlling Units (CUs), about 44,000 VVPATs are also being dispatched to the state. All this poll machinery would reach the state by September 18. Asifabad district would be first district to receive EVMs and VVPATs.
The first-level checking of EVM machines will be made in the presence of political parties. The machine will be checked for electronic and manufacturing defects. Political parties will be allowed to test the equipment to dispel their doubts, CEO said. Each balloting unit will accommodate 16 candidates including ‘none of the above’ (NOTA) option. If more than 16 candidates are in the fray the polls, another balloting unit would be attached to the controlling unit, Rajat Kumar said.
EVMs: As many as 37 judicial challenges have been decided in favour of EVMs since 1982. These EVMs are developed by government units like BEL BHEL and ECIL. Rajat Kumar assured that the latest EVMs are 100 per cent fool-proof and doubting their functioning was not proper. Reading out a SC verdict on the announcement of freebies to attract voters, the CEO said that as per the verdict, no political party can announce freebies selectively but can announce sops in the larger interest of the people. However, he has not clarified whether the government can give second installment of Rythu Bandhu assistance to farmers in November.