The Election Code of Conduct is likely to be announced on August 25 for the assembly elections in Maharashtra and looking at the increase in number o booths, the district administration is getting ready to train nearly 25,000 staff to be recruited for election duties. The elections are likely in October, as the Code of Conduct starts with announcement of election date, usually made 45 days prior to the elections.
There would be 7,500 booths for the 21 assembly constituencies in the district.
“The voter registration drive will add to the final tally. Presently, figures have touched 70 lakh and there will be some more thousands added. With this, the number of booths will increase to 7,500 from 7,258 and for these booths, the staff required would be 25,000,’’ said officials from the district election department.
There has been talk of teachers not being given election duties but the election staff rule out a blanket ban. Training of staff will commence on August 21-22. There are 21 Assistant Returning Officers for the district.
‘’The requirement is so huge that they cannot grant permission to completely keep teachers off election duty. Teachers who have to be ready for examinations may be considered special cases but it is unlikely they will have a blanket rule on not taking teachers,’’ said election officers.
Owing to technical issues with EVMs in Pune, about 20,700 EVMs used in elections in Uttar Pradesh’s five districts were procured and the district election department raised the need for another 7,000 machines for back up, and they are likely to be procured from Karnataka.
‘’ECIL engineers have started checking the machines from August 16. The machines are from Uttar Pradesh’s Agra, Moradabad, Ghaziabad, Etah and Auriya districts,’’ said officials. The registration of voters continues, with even some weekends witnessing full day registration drives. The drive for August- September will be conducted after the Election Commission directives.
In June-July, 3 lakh applications for corrections and new registrations were received. Registrations are on at voters help centres. Citizens have been asked to submit applications at help centres or at election offices of the respective constituencies. During the Lok Sabha polls, there were many who could not vote.
The matter reached the High Court, which directed that caution be exercised. Help centres as well as Electoral Registration Offices are aiding people in the registration drive.