With polling exercise starting to roll at 7.30 am for the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), 25,58,792 voters will have the opportunity to exercise their franchise till 5.30 pm to elect 152 candidates (for 76 panels) from a total of 1,177 candidates.
In PCMC,11,52,588 voters would get a chance to elect 128 wards for 64 panels. Voters have to elect two candidates in each panel.
For the first time,the civic polls would ensure that a minimum of 76 representatives in the PMC and 64 in PCMC are women as per the state government decision to increase reservation for women in civic bodies in the state from 33 to 50 per cent. The number of women voters is 12,23,249 against 13,35,543 men in PMC jurisdiction.
The election office that introduced various reforms in the election process this time has put 21,500 staff on duty for the PMC polls,and over 7,000 for PCMC. There are 2,996 booths across Pune city,an average of 900 voters per booth. In Pimpri-Chinchwad,there would be 1,330 booths. Around 505 polling centres in PMC area and 231 in PCMC have been declared sensitive.
For the first time,the election office is holding polls on the premises of select housing societies as well. Around 238 polling booths have been set up housing societies in PMC area and 27 in PCMC areas.
For the PMC poll,3,600 electronic voting machines (EVM) are being used and they can be tracked electronically to ensure they are not tampered with or stolen by anyone. In PCMC area 2,056 EVMs are in operation.
After the polling around 1,000 buses will carry the staff and the EVMs will be deposited at election offices. The police have made security arrangements at each polling booth and security agencies from other places have also been roped in to ensure smooth elections.
To increase turnout,the Election Commission had taken special enrolment drives for first-time voters and had undertaken extensive campaigns to urge voters to come out and vote. It used the electronic and print media and held street plays to take the message to the maximum people.
After a mock poll at 6.30 am,comes the actual polling at 7.30 am, said PCMC election officer Dr Uday Tekale.
On Wednesday,PMC election officer Pravin Ashitkar said,Polling staff,EVMs and other material have reached the respective centres. Some minors things are being ironed out…We are ready for polling day.