The State Election Commission (SEC) is learnt to have stressed the need to constitute a delimitation commission within a fortnight to redraw the boundaries of civic body segments in a flawless manner.

State Election Commissioner K. Sasidharan Nair is understood to have apprised a United Democratic Front (UDF) delegation that met him here on Wednesday that the government should immediately fix the strength of wards and constitute the commission to complete the process well ahead of the 2015 elections.

The commission is understood to have favoured uniformity in the member-population ratio in both urban and rural civic bodies.

The fourth State Finance Commission had restricted ward delimitation to once in 20 years, and insisted that it should be completed a year before the general elections. Though the government had accepted the recommendation, the Panchayati Raj Act has not been amended. As per the provisions of the Act, the government can delimit the wards after publishing the Census figures. Hence, the government has no legal hassles in proceeding with the process.

But neither the delimitation commission nor the government can revert the status of a panchayat, a municipality, a transition area, or a division that has become an adjunct of an urban or rural civic body as part of the previous delimitation exercise. This means the delimitation process cannot be used for political gains.

The commission is learnt to have taken a call on the use of electronic voting machines in rural civic bodies to enhance the efficiency in conducting polls and announcing the results.

As per current records, there are 33,000 polling booths and the government will have to expend Rs.93 crore to procure multi-post voting machines from Electronic Corporation of India Ltd. After delimitation, if the number of segments increases, the expense may go up to Rs.100 crore. The government will have to complete the preliminary procedure within two weeks, sources said.

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