Even as the election department is awaiting the final order from the Election Commission on the electoral code of conduct, it has forwarded a request to Bihar for 14,000 Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) for the forthcoming assembly elections.
Although 20,700 EVMs have been procured from Uttar Pradesh, the request has been put forth as there is a shortage of EVMs.
The department had earlier put the request for the machines from Karanataka but the state has agreed to give their machines to Raigad and so the district has made the request to Bihar. “There are 21 assembly constituencies and with an increased number of voters, the machines required and as back-up is more. We have received the machines from Uttar Pradesh and now with these machines coming from
Bihar should suffice,” said election officials. The officials clarified that none of the existing machines in the district used for the Lok Sabha polls would be used for the assembly polls as they were manufactured before 2006. Officials from the Electronic Corporation of India Limited are in Pune to check these machines, they added.
While some political parties had opposed the use of EVMs from Uttar Pradesh, the election department had clearly stated that the EVMs do not belong to UP. “The EVMs belong to the ECIL and are checked before they are declared fit to be used. Representatives of political parties are also present for the first-level of checking and they can rest assured that these machines are fit to be used,” said an official.
The department is also gearing up for staff arrangement. With a staff of 35,000 required they have send out letters to all departments to give the names of those who would be on election duty. “We have requested that all staff should be dedicated as there will be more polling stations. Even as there are schools that have their exams during the same period we have requested that they have the teachers for those days. Teachers cannot be exempted from poll duty considering the huge manpower we require,” said the official.