Plan to introduce 1,800 auxiliary polling stations, make them disabled-friendly

Having tasted success in the form of greater preventive action through arrests and seizure of arms, liquor and cash ahead of the last Assembly elections, the Election Commission has decided to continue with its policy of direct training of middle-level Delhi Police officers for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

While earlier the Election Office used to train a few senior Delhi Police officers who were then supposed to pass on the instructions to other colleagues on election duty, for the first time in the run-up to the Lok Sabha polls, the Election Commission is imparting direct training to all officers from the rank of Station House Officer to Additional Commissioners.

“The results of the training given for the Assembly polls were very encouraging, the preventive actions went up nearly 100 fold. So this time we decided to train the Delhi Police officers directly for the Lok Sabha elections as well,” said Chief Electoral Officer Vijay Kumar Dev.

He said the takeaway from the exercise is very beneficial for the atmosphere created for the elections. With musclemen and local criminals put behind bars, people feel safer going out to vote. And a large seizure of cash, liquor and weapons deters the criminal and anti-social elements from raising their head at such times.

While the training of Additional Commissioners, Deputy Commissioners and Additional DCPs is over, training for Assistant Commissioners and SHOs is also due to be completed soon.

“We have already been training the civil administration and the sessions for Deputy Commissioners, returning officers and assistant ROs are already over. Now, we would be reaching out to the sector officers, presiding officers and polling officers in the next round of our training.”

1,800 auxiliary polling stations

Mr. Dev said the strategy involves building up on the experience of the 2013 polls and learning from mistakes. “We analysed why there were long queues and have drawn up a plan on rationalisation of polling stations by adding 1,800 auxiliary polling stations to reduce the rush.”

Similarly, within the polling stations, the flow would be optimised between the five persons posted there. “Theoretically in the event of 100 per cent polling, we have just about 20 seconds per voter. So we are trying to reduce the wastage of every second per voter.”

The Chief Electoral Officer has also urged the Election Commission to extend the voting time by an hour. It is from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at present. Also, a campaign would be launched through the media to encourage voters to cast their vote between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m instead of the morning or evening hours to save on time.

More PwD friendly

For the persons with disabilities (PwD), the Delhi election office has decided to get ramps constructed to make all polling booths accessible and to not have poles dividing the doors for allowing wheelchairs to come in.

“We would also be telling the MCD engineers clearly that in the event of anything going wrong in their respective areas, they would even face suspension.”

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