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State told to halt ‘Praja Patham’

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Do’s, Don’ts: Chief Electoral Officer I.V. Subba Rao briefing representatives of various political parties on the bypolls in Hyderabad on Thursday.
Do’s, Don’ts: Chief Electoral Officer I.V. Subba Rao briefing representatives of various political parties on the bypolls in Hyderabad on Thursday.

Special Correspondent

EC planning to notify some major changes in the conduct of bypolls

Plans to randomise allotment of EVMs in each constituency

Will allot EVMs to polling stations by draw of lots

HYDERABAD: The Election Commission of India has asked the State Government to keep in abeyance the ongoing ‘Praja Patham’ programme in the ten districts where byelections are due on May 29.

It is also planning to notify some more major changes in the conduct of the bypolls in 18 Assembly and four Lok Sabha seats. An important change is to randomise the allotment of electronic voting machines (EVMs) in each constituency and to allot them to polling stations by draw of lots. This follows representations that the allotment of the machines to particular polling stations would give scope for manipulation.

Key decision

Another key decision is the EC’s insistence that polling agents posted by the parties should be a voter of the particular polling station. Nomination of agents with security cover would not be allowed in the byelection.

At an all party meeting convened here on Thursday, Chief Electoral Officer I.V. Subba Rao explained the political parties’ representatives about the dos and don’ts in the election process and asked them to abide by the procedure for smooth conduct of the poll. The Collectors of the 10 districts going to polls would be told to go about with the procedures in a strict manner.

Mr. Subba Rao said details of the 8,000 odd polling stations along with the electors’ lists in the 42 Assembly segments where the elections were being held would be submitted to the political parties shortly.

The contesting candidates should submit their B form to the respective returning officers and send a copy of it to the CEO’s office before the last date of submission of nominations.

About the Praja Patham programme, the CEO said though the programme would be kept in abeyance, the normal processes would continue as “we can not paralyse the administration” resulting in hurdles in providing basic amenities like drinking water to the people.


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