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State election office to launch special drive to issue I-cards for LS polls

With the Election Commission of India hinting at holding the Lok Sabha elections between April 8 and May 15,the office of Gujarat Chief Electoral Officer will launch a special drive to issue electoral photo identity cards.

Written by Express News Service | Gandhinagar |
January 29, 2009 1:06:11 am

With the Election Commission of India (EC) hinting at holding the Lok Sabha elections between April 8 and May 15,the office of Gujarat Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) will launch a special drive to issue electoral photo identity cards (EPICs).

The CEO office has directed all district collectors to launch the EPIC drive in their respective areas from the second week of February. As many as 28 lakh of the 3.63 crore strong electorate registered in Gujarat are yet to be issued EPICs.

The CEO has also appointed eight Roll Observers (secretary-level officers) to ensure the enrolment of the remaining voters,particularly those living in newly-constructed housing colonies in urban and semi-urban areas across the state.

In an informal interaction with mediapersons on Wednesday,state CEO Vinod Babbar said the EC has convened a meeting of all state CEOs in Delhi on February 4 to take stock of the poll preparedness in their respective states. “At the meeting,I will apprise the EC officials of the poll preparations in Gujarat. We have already completed about 92 per cent of the work on photo electoral rolls,” he said.

Babbar said the EC has still not issued any guidelines on whether the voter having his/her name already registered in the photo electoral roll but having no EPIC should be allowed to cast his/her vote. “Though the EC has not yet made it mandatory for the voter to have an EPIC,it would be desirable for him/her to have one on the polling day,” he added.

On February 3,the EC has called a meeting of leaders of various political parties in view of the impending general elections,while on February 5,the Commission will hold discussions with the chief secretaries and DGPs of all states on poll preparations.

“The EC may announce a final poll schedule after the meetings. The number of polling booths in Gujarat,which was over 42,000 in 2004,may increase by about 1,000 this time. The Commission will install about 52,000 EVMs ,” Babbar added.

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