EC revises guidelines for ‘sensitive booths’; too many absentee voters a key concern

In view of past instances of violence at the polling booths in the state,the Election Commission,this time,has formulated five guidelines for identifying a sensitive booth.

Written by Express News Service | Kolkata | Published: March 11, 2009 4:26 am

Huge number of voters without the Electoral Photo I-cards will also make a booth sensitive

In view of past instances of violence at the polling booths in the state,the Election Commission (EC),this time,has formulated five guidelines for identifying a sensitive booth.

Earlier,a polling booth was labeled sensitive by the police on the basis of previous records of law and order situation. According to the history of electoral violence,the booths used to be categorised as A (hyper-sensitive),B (sensitive) and C (normal).

From now on,the sensitivity of a polling booth will be determined by the administration according to the guidelines framed by the EC that include number of absentee voters,number of voters without photo I-Card,etc.

“In addition to the history of the law and order situation,there are several other factors that have to be taken into account while determining whether a booth is sensitive. We have tried to put together all those factors and framed the guidelines,” said Debashis Sen,Chief Electoral Officer.

According to the EC guidelines,the vulnerability of the booth-area has to be assessed. EC guidelines also state that a booth can be sensitive if the numbers of absentee voters (voters who were not available during the verification) are considerably more than the normal voters.

Moreover,the guidelines say that a booth with a good number of voters without the Electoral Photo Identity card has to be taken under consideration during identifying the sensitive booths. In the last election,there were several booths where 75 per cent of the total voters of the area cast their votes. If in any booth,75 per cent of the 75 per cent voters voted for one particular political party,then that booth will be identified as a sensitive booth.

Finally,the inputs of the external observers based on the complaints of a political party will also be taken in consideration while determining the sensitivity of a polling booth.

“We have communicated our guidelines to the police and all the district magistrates. The external observers will start visiting the booths from the last date of nomination,” said Sen.

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