Of the 7,258 booths in the district, there are 108 critical ones and one booth has been put in the vulnerable category. Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections on April 17, the district election office and the police have done a vulnerability and critical mapping of the polling booths so that special protection can be provided to the ones that need it.
The Wadgaonsheri booth has been put in the vulnerable category due to the criminal intimidation voters faced here last elections.
The 108 sensitive booths have been identified according to the Election Commission guidelines.
“It was essential to do a critical mapping so that we can ensure that there is enough staff at these booths. We would make sure that we have enough polling staffers and there would be thorough monitoring of these booths,’’ said District Collector Saurabh Rao.
With a detailed plan ready, he said it would be discussed with the general observer, who will arrive on March 25.
Deputy Election Officer Apurva Wankhede said there were certain criteria that were followed while marking these booths as critical and vulnerable. For vulnerable booth, the criteria includes intimidation to voters, while in the critical polling booth, the criteria includes whether the last election saw repolling, if electoral violence was reported, 75 per cent voting went to one candidate or there were high number of voters with no family linkage. The criteria also includes if the particular booth has less number of EPIC voters.
“We have followed the criteria and the booths have been marked accordingly. For Pune, the main issues have been electoral violence, polling booths with high number of votes with no family linkages, and high number of booths with no EPIC cards,’’ said Wankhede.
The analysis of each polling booth is being done according to the severity of the criteria. “In case of Wadgaonsheri, there were incidents of criminal intimidation. However, we will be studying the booth in detail and try to instil confidence among voters,’’ he added.
Last elections, in the 6,704 polling stations at 21 Assembly constituencies, there were 1,342 critical and vulnerable booths — much more than in Naxal areas. While Satara had 634 sensitive booths, Solapur had 562 and Kolhapur had 289. Western Maharashtra had 3,030 sensitive booths and the entire state had 9,483 sensitive booths.