A total of 1.85 lakh electorate are set to cast their votes for the much awaited Panchkula Municipal Corporation elections, being held after a gap of over two-and-a-half years, on Sunday. The voters, for the first time, will poll to directly elect their mayoral candidate in Panchkula– in contrast to the earlier procedure as per which the Mayor’s post was filled by one of the already elected councillors.
There are six candidates in fray for the post of the Mayor, while a total of 83 councillor candidates are contesting in 20 wards. Meanwhile, of the total 1.85 lakh voters, more than 98,000 are men and about 87,000 are women.
The voting process will begin at 8.30 am and go on till 5.30 pm Sunday. The last one hour of the polls has been dedicated to the Covid-19 patients who will be able to cast their votes donning PPEs.
In view of the pandemic, the number of booths have also been increased by 100, from 175 earlier to 275 booths, currently. The police posted at the polling camps have been directed to take special care to prevent any gathering. Officials said that masks, sanitisers and gloves will also be made available to those entering the premises of the polling booth.
The district administration has identified 127 sensitive booths of the total 275 booths set up in Panchkula, and each of the sensitive booths will remain under strict supervision of a duty magistrate.
The election tools for the civic body polls, including EVMs, were distributed at State Post Graduate Women’s College in Sector 14 on Saturday. The polling parties were also given the third training before undertaking the task of distributing election material. Before the commencement of elections on Sunday morning, the polling parties will also complete the mock poll process in front of the polling agents. Officials said, during the polls, the agents and voters will not be allowed to carry their mobiles to the booth.
“The polling parties have thoroughly checked and inspected the election material before their transportation,” said a press statement issued by the district administration. “About 1,650 polling officers and presiding officers have been appointed at 275 polling stations for the elections. Besides this, a large number of police officers and employees have also been deployed. The polling parties will arrive at the booths by Saturday evening. The employees have been directed to properly manage the stay and food of the polling parties,” the statement further read.
District Election Officer and Deputy Commissioner Mukesh Kumar Ahuja informed that after the completion of the polling process on December 27, ballot boxes will be submitted at the Government Post Graduate Women’s College in Sector 14 and the counting of votes will be conducted on December 30.
The Panchkula police, keeping in view the polling day, has set up several check posts across the city to prevent any untoward incident and ensure that law and order is maintained. “We are specially keeping an eye on those supplying illegal liquor and drugs,” said a press statement by the police department.
The DCP office has also issued strict instructions to the police officials, to ensure that no illegal supply of liquor is being undertaken from Sunday to Wednesday, when the counting of votes will be done.
The administration has also appointed supervisors at 20 wards to ensure that the elections are conducted smoothly. One supervisor and 12 duty magistrates have been appointed in each ward. Besides this, 16 patrolling parties will also continue to be engaged in electoral duty. The election observer and other administrative officers have also been tasked to keep a vigil during the polls.
As many as five polling staff, two to three police personnel and home guard employees have also been deployed at each polling station. For the convenience of citizens, 275 polling stations have been set up and no more than a thousand voters have been allocated to a polling station.
PPE kits have been provided to those on ground, in addition to mask, gloves and face shields. Officials said, polling stations will be sanitised before the polls. Thermal scanning will also be conducted at each polling station.
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