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No cause for worry, says official

By Our Staff Correspondent

MYSORE, MARCH 29. The Deputy Commissioner, G. Kumar Naik, has said that the polling officials will help voters tell between the electronic voting machines meant for the Assembly and the Lok Sabha elections. The machines will be placed in separate enclosures in each polling booth. The paper, which bears the symbols of the candidates, pasted on the machines will be pink for the Assembly election and white for the Lok Sabha polls.

Mr. Naik was addressing a press conference after holding a meeting with political leaders here on Monday. He gave these assurances as C.H. Vijayshankar, President of the Bharatiya Janata Party district unit, and G.T. Deve Gowda, President of the Janata Dal (Secular) district unit, said many voters could not differentiate between the ballot papers meant for the Assembly and the Lok Sabha elections in 1999. They attributed the defeat of their parties in those elections to this confusion.

Mr. Vijayshankar urged the authorities concerned to hold mock polling in all villages to ensure that the voters knew how to use the machines.

Mr. Naik said the literacy rate in the district went up from 47.32 per cent in 1991 to 63.69 per cent in 2001. Voters would know how to use the machines, he added.

According to him, 3,115 machines have been made available for the 1,487 polling booths in the Mysore Lok Sabha Constituency and the eight Assembly segments in its limits. As many as 12,987 votes were invalid in the 1998 Lok Sabha election. This time, there would be no invalid votes owing to the use of the machines, he said.

The number of polling staff in the Lok Sabha constituency would be 12,000. "Two of the six officials in each booth will be from outside the district, while four will be from outside the Assembly constituency,'' he said. Polling personnel had been drawn from Mandya, Chamarajanagar and Hassan districts.

Mr. Naik said 3,000 police personnel would be deployed in the Lok Sabha constituency. As many as 523 booths had been identified as sensitive and 509 as hypersensitive, he added.

The City Police Commissioner, Bipin Gopalakrishna, said 582 polling booths in four Assembly constituencies were in the limits of City police. Of them, 195 were sensitive and 263 hypersensitive. A head constable and two constables would be posted to each hypersensitive booth. A sensitive booth would have a head constable and a constable. Normal booth would have a constable. A mobile squad comprising a sub-inspector, an armed head constable and four armed constables would be deployed for 15 polling booths. The city would have 66 such squads, he added.

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