Staff Reporter

10 to 12 observers likely to be deputed for polls in the district

Kakinada: Arrangements are being made to despatch postal ballots to about 40,000 government employees involved in the conduct of general elections, including the police personnel, and 815 service voters (Armed forces personnel) well before April 23 which is the polling date. The ballot papers are to be sent within 48 hours of the withdrawal of nominations, duly carrying the signatures and stamps of the Returning Officers (ROs) concerned. Ballots will have to be sent back by voters to the ROs.

With regard to the conduct of elections, 10 to 12 observers are expected to be deputed to the district by the Election Commission in addition to micro observers who will keep a watch at polling stations which are prone to polling irregularities and law and order problems. The micro observers will be staying at polling stations allotted to them throughout the day of polling along with video and photographers. The observers are likely to arrive in a week or a few days later.

Meanwhile, March 29, February 10 and 11 have been fixed as the dates when the polling staff will be given training in operating the electronic voting machines (EVMs) and discharging other election-related duties. The staff will be given the last round of training a day before the polling stations are allotted to them. The randomisation of EVMs is scheduled to be done on March 18 and 22. Locations where the EVMs will be kept in strongrooms and counting done are being identified to devise security plans well in advance.

Collector’s directive

The Collector has ordered the removal of illegal distilleries in Rajanagaram, Yeleswaram, Peddapuram and Tuni areas to check manufacture and sale of liquor to voters with the intention of luring them to cast their votes to a particular party. Deputy Commissioner of Excise D. Janardhan Rao has been instructed to crack a whip on the belt shops.