Poll body chief appeals to Delhiites to come out and vote despite heat

Updated - May 25, 2024 08:49 am IST

Published - May 25, 2024 12:56 am IST - New Delhi

A polling official carrying an electronic voting machine on the eve of polling amid heavy security.

A polling official carrying an electronic voting machine on the eve of polling amid heavy security. | Photo Credit: SHIV KUMAR PUSHPAKAR

Appealing to voters to exercise their franchise in large numbers on Saturday, Delhi Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) P. Krishnamurthy said exercising one’s franchise is a “fundamental civic duty”, even if “the weather is harsh”.

The weather department has issued a ‘yellow’ alert for Saturday as it predicted the mercury to reach a maximum of 44 degrees Celsius.

“While heatwaves, cold, and rain are part of every season, our commitment to voting should remain unwavering,” Mr. Krishnamurthy said in a statement on Friday, adding that adequate arrangements have been made at polling booths to ensure a comfortable experience for voters.

Also read: Delhi Lok Sabha Election 2024 LIVE, May 25, 2024

“Shaded areas have been set up at each polling station, and the waiting areas are fully covered. Coolers and fans have been installed to mitigate any discomfort. Additionally, proper arrangements for drinking water, toilets, wheelchairs, and ramps for the disabled have been put in place,” he said.

Paramedical staff equipped with medical kits will also be available at polling locations for the first time in Delhi, as will volunteers and sign language experts to assist elderly and disabled voters, Mr. Krishnamurthy said.

Of the 13,641 polling stations across Delhi, 2,891 booths have been identified as “critical” and will be monitored directly through a webcast, he added.

Heavy security

The police have implemented an elaborate security arrangement for Saturday consisting of 60,000 police personnel, CCTV cameras, drones, and several PCR units, DCP (Election Cell) Sanjay Sehrawat said.

He added that 33,000 personnel will be stationed exclusively at polling booths. “Additional paramilitary forces will also be deployed on the ground. Moreover, 13,500 home guards from Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand, and 4,000 from Delhi will also be stationed to maintain vigil,” Mr. Sehrawat said.

Traffic police and PCR units have been instructed to facilitate the smooth movement of the voters in Delhi, the DCP said, adding that patrolling along the Uttar Pradesh and Haryana borders has been intensified to prevent untoward incidents. “We have requested voters to inform authorities in case they observe any electoral malpractice,” an officer said.

A total of 1.52 crore voters, including 82 lakh men, 69 lakh women and 1,228 third-gender persons, are eligible to cast their votes across Delhi’s seven parliamentary seats.

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