The upcoming Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections, slated for November 9, will witness use of advanced Geo-tech and IT solutions, besides large-scale web-cast means, helicopters during the polls which will be manned by 50,000 employees, apart from those on real-time duties on the voting day.
It’s for the first time, that the state will see use of Voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) machines at all the 7,521 (including 42 auxiliary) polling stations. At least two polling booths, in every assembly constituency, will be all-women managed booths. Another first this time will be the provision of providing voters’ slips in Braille to all visually impaired braille literate voters. Voter slips will be issued to all the voters before polls to ensure maximum participation of electorate.
Unfolding poll management plans, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Pushendra Rajput said all arrangements have been done to ensure transparent, fair, free and smooth polling in the state including three tribal constituencies, which witnesses snowfall beginning from next month itself.
“We have also done booth level planning for the polling stations in the areas prone to adverse weather conditions. There will be use of Geo-tech and IT solutions for polling booths, including 51 of those which are categorised as vulnerable and critical. Also, we will have additional deployment of manpower at these booths. About 141 booths will also be connected through wireless facility,” he said.
Rajput said nearly 75 companies of the para-military forces will be deployed on poll duty and other election related duties. The state government has also sanctioned a budget of Rs 50 crores for the elections.
After final publications of the electoral rolls on September 15, around 78,000 more applications have been received for registration as voters. As of now, there are 47,44,215 voters of which 24,23,377 are males and 23,20,838 females. Number of service voters is 65,856 but the process to enroll more service voters through online applications was also underway.
Hikkam police station in Lahaul Spiti will be highest polling station with 46 voters. Lahual-Spiti assembly constituency will be having lowest number of 22,849 voters and highest Kasauli with 92,753 voters.
At a meeting with top officials of the neighbouring states of Haryana, Punjab, Uttrakhand, Jammu and Kashmir and UT (Chandigarh) today, Rajput said he had asked the officials to follow strict guidelines of the EC to upgrade vigil and install CCTV cameras at all inter-state entry points. The movement of cash and liquor etc will be strictly monitored.
The model code of conduct, which has come into force already, will be strictly enforced. All government hoardings along national Highways and major towns have to go immediately. “I have asked a report from all DCs about compliance of the instructions. There will be no laxity on this mechanism has also been put in place for,” he added.