Special Correspondent

To post 17,000 police in addition to the existing 70,000 to ensure smooth conduct of elections

HYDERABAD: The Election Commission has identified about 20,000 polling stations, about one-third of the total 66,346 polling stations, as problematic in the forthcoming elections.

The election authorities have decided to position 17,000 additional police in addition to the existing strength of about 70,000 to ensure smooth conduct of elections. Chief Electoral Officer I.V. Subba Rao, however, dismissed the concerns expressed by former election commissioners and civil society groups over the law and order situation claiming “they are expressing what they think is right.” “Problems are rampant and they differ in nature. We have to identify the problems and deal with them as they exist,” he said.

Replying to queries in a Meet-The-Press organised by the AP Union of Working Journalists here on Thursday, he said the election authority was examining the complaints over ‘spree of orders’ issued by the government after the model code came into force. Complaints lodged by the Opposition parties over the actions of the Chief Secretary and Director-General of Police needed to be substantiated with evidence as the basis on which the complaint had been made should be examined.

“This does not mean we have discarded the complaint.

We are examining the issue and we need more evidence,” he said. The CEO explained the initiatives launched by the EC for “making the election process voter friendly.”

While enrolment into voters’ lists had been made a continuous process by making available forms, the election authority had experimented with success e-registration.

New software had been added to the toll free number 1100 to monitor the action taken on the complaints being lodged on irregularities and the timeline had been set for the authorities concerned for distribution of election photo identity cards. “We hope to distribute 95 per cent of cards before the election,” he said adding steps were being taken to enable voters to print their voter slips instead of depending on the polling agents.

Replying to a query, he said there was no provision in the existing law to prevent candidates from contesting from multiple constituencies.