As the Election Commission (EC) has yet another mammoth task of holding Legislative Assembly polls in Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Mizoram before the end of this year. It is planning to deploy, to get feedback and on experimental basis, Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT), in some constituencies.
“We have to amend the rules relating to this and this has to be done by the Law and Justice ministry based on the recommendations of the Commission,” a senior EC official told The Hindu here on Monday. He pointed out that the representatives of the recognised national and State-level political parties, during the all-party meeting held here in May, had expressed satisfaction over the functioning of the EVM with VVPAT developed by the EC and made some suggestions for further improvement.
The VVPAT was jointly developed by Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL) and Bharat Electrionics Limited (BEL) and the model has already undergone field trials twice.
After the improvement made in the VVPAT, a voter who exercises his vote through the ballot unit of the EVM can physically see the printout of the vote cast by him. The name of the candidate, his/her election symbol and his/her serial number in the ballot will be displayed in the printout, although this cannot be taken home by the voter.
Sources said that the Commission, which reviewed the poll preparedness in the five States with the respective Chief Electoral Officers (CEOs), and instructed them to speed up the work related to the elections, would soon be visiting the respective State capitals to meet the political representatives, besides interacting with the State government officials to review preparedness and receive suggestions/feedback.
The progress of preparation of electoral rolls and its summary revision, distribution of the Elector Photo Identity Card (EPIC), selection of polling personnel, setting up of polling stations, transfer/appointment of officials related to poll work, pending execution of non-bailable warrants and preparation/requirement of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) were among the subjects covered in the meetings which were held individually with each CEO and their team by the Commission on Thursday and Friday.
The elections are due for the Legislative Assemblies of Madhya Pradesh (total membership 230), Mizoram (40), NCT Delhi (70), Rajasthan (200) and Chhattisgarh (90). The terms of those Assemblies are ending on December 12, 15, 17 and 31 of December this year and January 4, 2014, respectively.
While Shivraj Singh Chauhan and Raman Singh are presently leading the BJP governments in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh respectively, Sheila Dixit, Lal Thanhawla and Ashok Gehlot are heading the Congress governments in Delhi, Mizoram and Rajasthan.