Telangana

Stage set for ULB polls today

Over 55,000 staff, 50,000 security personnel deployed in 6,188 polling stations

The stage is set for elections to 120 municipalities and nine municipal corporations in the State on Wednesday.

In all, 53.5 lakh voters including 26.6 lakh women will exercise their franchise in the elections, the first major polling exercise to be held in the urban local bodies since the formation of Telangana. The election to Karimnagar Municipal Corporation with 60 divisions, the notification of which was delayed by a couple of days due to court cases, would be held on January 24.

Elections had been notified for 2,727 wards in municipalities and 385 divisions in the municipal corporations of which, 80 candidates from different municipalities and three from municipal corporations had been declared elected unopposed by the State Election Commission leaving little over 12,900 candidates in the fray for 2,647 wards in the municipalities and 382 divisions in the corporations.

Over 55,000 staff had been deployed on election duty in addition to 50,000 security personnel in the 6,188 polling stations in the municipalities and 1,773 polling stations in the municipal corporations. State Election Commissioner V. Nagi Reddy said all arrangements had been made for the smooth conduct of the polls with 2,406 polling stations selected for live webcasting of the proceedings while another 2,072 polling stations selected for video coverage. Micro observers would cover the proceedings in 2,053 polling stations.

The commission had for the first time decided to deploy facial recognition application for real time digital authentication of voters in 10 polling stations at Kompally. The commission made elaborate arrangements to ensure that there was no inconvenience to voters and there was little scope for long queue lines in front of polling stations as the voter strength per polling station would be around 800. “With polling to be held from 7 am to 5 pm, there will be adequate time for electors to cast their votes,” he said.

Appealing to voters to cast their votes for selecting the right candidates who would serve them for the next five years, he wanted them to utilise the tender vote facility to check instances of impersonation. “Tender vote can lead to repolling and ensure that genuine voters exercise their franchise. The commission has adopted zero tolerance towards impersonation,” Mr Reddy said.

Asked about reports on use of money power, he said the commission had already positioned 285 flying squads and 360 stationary teams to check it. One candidate in Peddapalli municipality was caught red-handed while distributing money and a charge-sheet was being filed against him. Similar cases that came to the notice of the commission at Gadwal and Alampur were under investigation and necessary action would be initiated against those found guilty.

“While the commission has made its arrangements, it is for the citizens and political parties to be alert and bring instances of luring voters to our notice. They can utilise the smart gadgets including cell phones to get evidence and candidates can be disqualified even if they win in the polls,” he added.

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 12:59:33 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/stage-set-for-telangana-ulb-polls-today/article30617078.ece

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