Mumbai: Nanded-Waghala Municipal Corporation (NWMC) may become the first one in Maharashtra to use Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines for its polls, if Electronic Corporation of India (ECI) supplies them on time, said officials in the State Election Commission.
Elections to the 81-member NWMC is scheduled on October 11.
Official sources in the State Election Commission of Maharashtra (SECM) said although the state government has released funds for the purchase of the VVPAT machines from the ECI, the company should have supplied them to the SECM by now.
"However, if the ECI does supply the machines on time, they can be used during the October 11 polls to the NWMC," the source said.
The state government's General Administration Department (GAD) in a Government Resolution (GR) issued here on September 8 stated that there are plans to use about 350 VVPAT machines on experimental basis in the NWMC polls.
In all, 300 VVPAT machines at a cost of Rs 26,212 per unit are to be purchased. The state government has allocated Rs 92 lakh for the purchase of the 300 VVPAT machines.
The GR further states that in future, civic elections the concerned Municipal Corporations shall make budgetary provisions for the use of VVPAT machines, if they are going to be used on a regular basis.
Sources said VVPAT machines have been used in 13 assembly constituencies spread across eight districts of the state in the 2014 assembly elections in the state. Usually one VVPAT machine is deployed per polling booth.
A VVPAT machine is basically a printer, which is either attached to the ballot or control unit depending on its length of the connecting wire.
The machine has a outlet from where after the voter casts his vote a paper slip pops out displaying the voters vote cast and then the paper slip falls into the collection box below.
The GR also states that after the February 2017 elections to 10 major municipal corporations of Mumbai, Thane, Pune and others there were several complaints from the public and political parties about the functioning of the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs).
Some people have even filed public interest litigation (PIL) over the results of these civic polls.
Following complaints over the years on the use of EVMs, the Supreme Court of India in 2013 issued orders for use of VVPAT machines in a phased manner in future Lok Sabha and Assembly elections.
In the Congress ruled out-going NWMC, the party wise strength is as follows: BJP 2, NCP 10, Congress 41, Shiv Sena 14.
Out of the 5.50 lakh population of Nanded-Waghala, the voter population is 3.96 lakh. Out of the 81 seats, 41 seats are reserved for women candidates, SC 15, ST 2 and 22 seats are reserved for Backward Class Communities.
Counting of votes and declaration of results will be held on October 12, 2017.