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Big force deployment for polls

Staff Reporter

For the first time in MCD polls, EVMs to be used at all the polling booths

NEW DELHI: Nearly 60,000 security personnel drawn from the Delhi police, paramilitary forces and homeguards will be deployed to ensure smooth and peaceful conduct of the Municipal Corporation of Delhi polls on April 5.

Sensitive booths

A total of 57 polling booths have been identified as "hyper sensitive" and 307 booths as "sensitive" where extra security personnel will be deployed.

"We have made elaborate arrangements for conducting the entire election process smoothly. Over 99.62-lakh voters enrolled in the electoral list are entitled to exercise their franchise to elect 272 Councillors from the 2,575 candidates in the fray," said Delhi State Election Commissioner S. P. Marwah at a press conference here on Tuesday.

To be manned by over 55,000 Government officials, polling will be held between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., while counting of votes will be taken up on April 7 from 8 a.m. All types of campaigning would stop on April 4 at 5 p.m. and penal action would be taken against those found canvassing after that, he added.

Public holiday

The day of polling has been declared as a public holiday when all Delhi Government offices, local bodies, public sector undertakings, schools and markets will remain closed.

However, all Central Government offices will remain open and employees will be allowed to take "short leave" to cast their vote. For convenience of the polling staff, the Delhi Metro and the Delhi Transport Corporation buses will start their services from 3 a.m. on April 5, said Mr. Marwah.

Stating that for the first time in the history of the MCD elections electronic voting machines (EVMs) would be used in all the polling booths, Mr. Marwah said more than 200 technicians would remain present at various polling stations to take care of any technical problems in EVMs during polling.

"Use of EVMs will not only help us in carrying out the entire polling process smoothly and transparently, but also enable us to declare results very fast. Compared to the last MCD polls when counting was completed only by late in the evening, this time the entire counting process would be completed by noon and trends would start coming by 10 a.m.," he added.

Stating that around Rs.24 crore would be spent in conducting polls this time compared to Rs.17 crore used in 2002, the Delhi State Election Commissioner urged the electorate to come out in large numbers to cast their votes.

"In 2002, only 45 per cent polling was recorded, which is not the true reflection of people's representation. I hope more number of voters will exercise their franchise this time round," he added.

Except for ration cards, all other identity cards issued by any competent authority would be acceptable as proof of identity of voters. "We have been issuing election identity cards also and upgrading electoral rolls so that all eligible persons can cast their votes," Mr. Marwah added.

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