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Essential services personnel can vote by post in Kerala polls, webcasting in 50% booths

Persons with disabilities, senior citizens above 80 years of age, Covid patients and those under quarantine have already been made eligible for postal voting

Published: 27th February 2021 02:41 PM  |   Last Updated: 27th February 2021 02:41 PM   |  A+A-

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(Representational Image | EPS)

By Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Election Commission will extend the postal voting facility to personnel under the 'notified essential services' category and set up webcasting facility in 50% of the polling booths in the state for the upcoming assembly elections.
        
Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Teeka Ram Meena told reporters that inclusion of 'notified essential services' personnel in the category of 'absentee voters' has been done as per the directions of the Election Commission. Persons with disabilities, senior citizens above 80 years of age, Covid patients and those under quarantine have already been made eligible for postal voting.
       
"The 'notified essential services' will include personnel from departments of health, police, fire and rescue, jail, excise, Milma, electricity, water authority, KSRTC, treasury service, forest, and also from central government institutions such as All India Radio, Doordarshan, BSNL, Railway and Post and Telegraph," Meena said. Ambulance personnel and mediapersons authorised to cover the election will also be eligible for postal voting this time, he added.
        
The Election Commission has already announced an extension of polling time by an hour. Accordingly, polling will be held from 7 am to 7 pm across the state, except in Left Wing Extremism (LSW)-affected areas in five districts. While the Union Home Ministry has earmarked certain areas in Wayanad, Palakkad and Malappuram as Naxal-affected, the state police has also included a few areas under Kannur and Kozhikode in that category. In the LWE-affected areas, polling will be held from 7 am to 6 pm.
        
As per a preliminary security assessment, the state has 1,280 locations that are either critical, vulnerable or LWE-affected. Each location can have more than one polling booth and a final list of polling booths coming under such categories will be decided later after carrying out a detailed security review, Meena said. All booths in critical, vulnerable and LWE-affected areas will come under webcasting facility.
       
A total of 30 companies of Central Armed Police Force (CAPF) have already been earmarked for security in the election. Of these, 15 companies are from the BSF and five each from the ITBP, SSB and CISF. All BSF companies will be deployed in Malabar region while the rest will be stationed in other districts. Of the 90 personnel in a company, 72 will be on active duty while the rest will provide logistical support.    



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