Andhra Pradesh

Amid cases surge, officials gear up for Tirupati byelection

Employees on byelection duty shifting polling material from Nellore to a polling booth in Sarvepalli on Friday.  

The machinery has been fully geared up to ensure free and fair election amid raging COVID-19 cases on Saturday, according to K.V.N.Chakradhar Babu, Nellore District Collector and Returning Officer for the byelection to the Tirupati Lok Sabha seat.

Overseeing the movement of men and material to the polling stations with an electorate of 17.10 lakh voters amid tight security, he said the byelection would be held fully adhering to the COVID-19 protocol.

Appeal to voters

He wanted the people to come in large numbers to vote. He also wanted people to wear a face mask, clean their hands with santizers and maintain physical distance at the polling stations.

The 10,850 polling staff had been vaccinated, the Collector said. An additional 500 polling stations were created to ensure that no polling station had more than 1,000 voters against 1,500 voters under normal condition, he said.

Polling would start at 7 a.m. after mock polling an hour before. About 23 companies of central para-military forces and three companies of APSP personnel would provide fool-proof security.

“The poll timing is extended by two hours till 7 p.m. to avoid overcrowding at the polling stations at any given point of time and keeping in view the prevailing heatwave condition in the Assembly segments of Sarvepalli, Gudur, Sullurpeta and Venkatagiri in Nellore district and Srikalahasti, Satyaveedu and Tirupati in Chittoor district,” he said.

In all the polling stations, video recording would be done. Webcasting would be done in 1,241 critical polling stations to ensure transparancy, he said after visiting some of the polling stations.

The Collector appealed to the voters to make use of the Booth App of the Election Commission of India to download the digital voter slip and know the queue status at any given point of time to minimise their waiting time.

Those above 80 years and the differently-abled could make use of the mobile polling booth facility to vote. As many as 497 service voters could vote online, he said.

Special arrangements have been made for the COVID-19 patients and those with suspected symptoms to vote in the elections. They will be provided with PPE kits at the polling station.

‘ID proof must’

Maintaining that the voter slips would not be considered as ID proof, he asked the voters to come with any of the ECI recognised ID cards to exercise their franchise. Based on the past track record, 30,000 persons were bound over for good behaviour.

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Printable version | May 15, 2021 10:26:05 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/amid-cases-surge-officials-gear-up-for-tirupati-byelection/article34339270.ece

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