Separate counting halls for LS and Assembly segments mooted

With several nominations received for the Visakhapatnam Lok Sabha and eight Assembly constituencies for the May 7 general elections, the district administration is making plans to get additional EVMs from other districts. A final decision will be taken after withdrawal of nominations is completed on Wednesday.

An EVM can accommodate 16 candidates, and effectively 15 since one slot has to be given to NOTA.

With more than 16 contestants having filed their nominations for Visakhapatnam Lok Sabha constituency and each of eight Assembly constituencies, the number of EVMs required is 4,364 while 2,529 are available in the district.

“We will seek the additional EVMs from the other districts, but a final picture will emerge after the withdrawal of nominations”, District Election Officer and District Collector S. Solomon Arokia Raj told reporters on Tuesday.

A sum of Rs. 80 lakh was being spent on laying ramps at 800 schools in the rural areas, where the polling stations are located for convenience of physically challenged and old age voters.

A proposal was being made to the Election Commission to have separate counting halls for Lok Sabha and Assembly segments and doubling the number of tables for counting votes.

The present method of having seven tables each for Assembly and Lok Sabha constituency in a hall was causing delay and the counting process was stretching to late in the afternoon. If 14 tables were used separately for the Lok Sabha and Assembly segments, the counting process was expected to be completed by noon, Mr. Arokia Raj said.

On the vehicles being used by the contestants for their campaign, the Collector said a vehicle sporting any kind of publicity regarding the candidate-even a sticker-would be considered a publicity vehicle and its expenses calculated.