Special Correspondent

Reports of upper cases intimidating weaker section voters

CEO interacts with Collectors through videoconference

‘Officials drafted for polling work should be trained’

HYDERABAD: Collectors of 10 districts where byelections are being held, have been asked to set up polling stations in weaker section colonies in all villages where voters belonging to SC/ST and other disadvantaged sections are likely to face force and intimidation from upper castes.

Chief Electoral Officer I. V. Subba Rao issued strict instructions to this effect following the feedback that weaker sections voters in some villages, indeed, were prevented by upper castes from voting during previous elections or forced/induced to favour a particular candidate or political party.

Interacting with Collectors through a videoconference here on Monday, the CEO checked the poll-preparedness of the administration in these districts, with reference to possible law and order problems, electronic voting machines required and polling personnel drafted and trained. He asked the Collectors to ensure that employees/teachers drafted for polling work were trained and the functioning of the EVMs checked.

As the notification for the byelections is scheduled to be issued by the EC on May 5, Mr. Rao made it clear to the Collectors that these elections were being held without the use of ‘photo electoral rolls’ but ‘photo voter identity cards’ would be insisted upon at polling stations for voting.

Though photo voter identity cards were made mandatory for these elections like in the past, voters could use any of the 14 documents specified by the EC.

He said work relating to preparation of photo-electoral rolls were in full swing in the districts other than the ones where byelections were being held.

The preliminary rolls of voters with their photos would be ready by July 23 and the lists finalised by August 31.