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Beware flow of liquor from Goa, Gopalaswami asks Karnataka observers

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Chief Election Commissioner N. Gopalaswami flanked by Election Commissioners Navin B. Chawla (left) and S.Y. Quraishi after a meeting with observers for the Karnataka Assembly elections in New Delhi on Saturday.
Chief Election Commissioner N. Gopalaswami flanked by Election Commissioners Navin B. Chawla (left) and S.Y. Quraishi after a meeting with observers for the Karnataka Assembly elections in New Delhi on Saturday.

Special Correspondent

“Election Commission has received complaints from some political parties”

NEW DELHI: Observers appointed by the Election Commission to supervise the coming Assembly elections in Karnataka have a special task to perform. The panel has specifically asked them to prevent any flow of liquor from Goa.

Speaking to reporters after a briefing for the observers here on Saturday, Chief Election Commissioner N. Gopalaswami said the observers were instructed to specially look at the possibility of flow of liquor from Goa.

“The Election Commission has received complaints from some political parties that breweries in Goa have got overwhelming orders and that they are working overtime.”

Mobile EPIC centres

He said that while the coverage of electors’ photo identity card (EPIC) stood at 57.25 per cent for the State as a whole, it was less than 40 per cent in the Bangalore Municipal Corporation, urban and rural areas as well as the areas under the Mysore Corporation. About 1,000 mobile EPIC centres had been pressed into service to increase the EPIC coverage. “In Bangalore particularly, the EPIC coverage is as low as 25 per cent,” he added.

The Election Commission, he said, has also decided to deploy a large number of micro-observers inside polling stations to ensure a fair poll and to reduce dependency on paramilitary forces. During the Gujarat election, about 9,000 micro-observers were deployed. In Karnataka, more of them would be deployed. The details were being worked out.

Steps were also being taken to introduce a new procedure for postal ballot to enable officials engaged in poll duty to exercise their franchise. Helplines would be set up in urban centres to guide voters to their polling stations.

To a query, he said the list of sensitive and hypersensitive polling stations would be fine-tuned after the nomination of the candidates. The observers would critically examine the classification of such polling stations.

On the complaints of large-scale transfer of tahsildars, Mr. Gopalaswami observed that some of them were transferred on instructions from the Election Commission and said that in the case of others, the issue was being examined. If any transfer was found to be not in order, status quo would be restored.


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