Almost 50 per cent voters in the state, which will go to polls on April 30, are in the age group of 20 to 39 years. Announcing the implementation of the model code of conduct and giving out the details of election schedule, Gujarat Chief Election Commissioner Anita Karwal on Wednesday said that of the total 3.98 crore registered voters in the state, 2.08 crore are male and 1.90 crore are female, while the youth form the major chunk of the electorate. There are 78.8 lakh voters, aged between 40 and 49 years, followed by 32 lakh in the age group of 60 to 69 years, 16 lakh of 70 to 79 years, 5 lakh of 80 to 89 years, 60,500 of 90 to 99 years.
There are 8,250 voters who are aged 100 and above. Besides, the number of first-time voters — aged between 18 and 19 years — is 9.5 lakh. The highest number of voters are in the age group of 30 to 39, which is 1.1 crore, followed by 1 crore voters, aged between 20 and 29 years.
There will be a total of 45,313 polling stations at 27,360 locations across the state. However, the electorate largely come from rural areas. There are a total of 21,714 polling stations in rural areas, against 5,646 in urban pockets.
Karwal said that 20 – 22 per cent of these stations can be catergorised as vulnerable and sensitive. She, however, declined to identify these stations.
In the state, addition of new voters can be done till March 30, while deletion will not be possible now as model Code of Conduct is in place. Photo voter identity slips will be distributed by the EC 3 to 7 days prior to the polling date.
Notification will be released on April 9, from which candidates can file their papers. On April 10, EC will scrutinise the nomination papers. The last date for candidates to withdraw their nomination is April 12. Karwal maintained that the CEC has raised the bar for LS candidate expenditure from Rs 40 lakh to Rs 70 lakh, whereas there is no ceiling for the party expenditure. The candidates will have to open a special bank account and transactions should be done through cheques. Karwal said that from the date of filing of nomination till the polling day, the EC will check the candidates’ bank accounts thrice and all the details will be uploaded on the CEC’s website.
A total of four state-level nodal officers, including for election expenditure, police, income tax and an SMS monitor, will be present. Parties’ advertisements on social media will also be monitored and the cases of objections will be considered one by one as they come up.
There will be two phone helplines, one would be about electoral list which will be chargeable, while the other will be for registering complains regarding model Code of Conduct which will be toll free. The details of district-wise helplines will be put on the website soon. Besides, 1950, a nationwide helpline number, is already functional.