EC gears up to ensure peaceful polling; 714 booths marked as 'critical'
Over 1.33 crore electorate will decide the fate of 673 candidates in the fray for the Delhi Assembly elections with the poll panel making elaborate arrangements for smooth and peaceful conduct of polling to be held from 8 AM to 6 PM on Saturday.
New Delhi: Over 1.33 crore electorate will decide the fate of 673 candidates in the fray for the Delhi Assembly elections with the poll panel making elaborate arrangements for smooth and peaceful conduct of polling to be held from 8 AM to 6 PM on Saturday.
According to the Election Commission, polling will take place at 12,177 polling stations, of which 714 have been identified as "critical". Of these, 191 are "highly critical".
For the first time, indelible ink will be applied with brush instead of wooden stick.
"As many as 95,000 government officials have been roped in for election duty to ensure smooth conduct of the polling process. Besides, adequate numbers of security personnel will be deployed at all polling booths," Delhi Chief Electoral Officer Chandra Bhushan Kumar said.
He said the number of total electorate in Delhi stands at 1,33,09,078 -- 73,89,089 males; 59,19,127 females; and 862 belonging to the third gender.
"There are 2,27,316 voters in the age group of 18 to 19 years, 36,93,975 in the age group of 20 to 29 years, while 311 electors are above 100 years old," he added.
The Matia Mahal constituency has the largest number of electorate at 3,47,245 and Chandni Chowk the lowest at 1,13,777, Kumar said.
A total of 673 candidates are in the fray. The Burari constituency in North Delhi has a maximum of 18 candidates while the Ambedkar Nagar seat in South Delhi has the lowest number of contenders at four.
Bhushan said as many as 21,702 political rallies were held by different parties during the campaign.
"We have already distributed photo voter slips in all the areas. If any voter has not got the slip, we will set up help desks on the day of polling where they can get it on the spot.
"If a voter is not carrying the voter ID, he or she can cast vote with carrying any one of 11 documents like passport and driving license," he said.
According to the CEO, polling will begin at 8 AM and continue till 6 PM on February 7.
Seventy 'strong rooms' have been set up in 14 locations in the national capital where electronic voting machines will be stored after polling.
The Delhi Chief Electoral Officer said there will be three-tier security arrangements for 'strong rooms' -- CAPF, state armed police force and district police.
He said 16,000 control units 20,000 ballot units will be used for polling. As for security inside polling booths, 1,200 micro observers will oversee the entire procedure and also report technical snags in EVM operations, if any.
"In all these polling stations we will have micro observers, CCTV cameras. Also we will be able to watch proceedings in the 142 polling stations on a live basis in our control room through live web-casting. There are also 9,369 electors who are homeless," said Bhushan, adding that till now, 1.35 lakh liquor bottles have been sized.
Besides, neighbouring states of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh have also put a 48-hour ban on the sale of liquor in the areas of the state bordering the national capital.
"Haryana and UP governments have declared dry days for a period of 48 hours ending with the hour fixed for the conclusion of polling, that is, from 6:00 PM on February 5 to 6:00 PM on February 7 within 3-km and 8-km from the borders of Delhi respectively and also on counting day on February 10," Bhushan added.
As many as 673 candidates are in the fray this time as against 810 in 2013 Assembly polls. There are 63 contesting women candidates in this election as against 71 in 2013.
Bhushan said the numbers of candidates from recognised national and state parties are 296 while 183 candidates belong to registered parties and there are 194 Independent nominees.
With less than 48 hours left for polling, the Election Commission has intensified vigil in areas that are vulnerable to misuse of money, liquor and musclemen such as slum clusters and unauthorised colonies and areas bordering UP and Haryana.
According to the Delhi CEO, a total of 43,235 postal ballots have been received so far in comparison to 41,095 during the Assembly Elections 2013.