The four parliamentary constituencies in Pune district will go to polls in two phases — phases 3 and 4 — in the seven-phase Lok Sabha elections, dates for which were announced by the Election Commission of India on Sunday. Pune and Baramati are scheduled to go to vote on April 23, while Maval and Shirur on April 29.
This will be the first time that the four constituencies in the district will not go to polls on the same day, thus making it easier for various political parties to canvass in the constituencies — they can deploy workers from two constituencies (once the voting finishes) to campaign in the remaining two.
Pune Collector and District Election Officer Naval Kishore Ram said that a total of 73,63,812 voters in the district will exercise the franchise in the four constituencies. A total of 8,879 polling stations will be set up in the four constituencies of which 7,666 will be managed by Pune District Election Officer, while the rest (part of Maval constituency) will be managed by Raigad officials.
The Collector said that most of the preparations for holding the elections in the district are complete as work had started several months ago. “From today (Sunday), the Model Code of Conduct has come into force. Preparations for holding the elections were already on and we have almost completed them. Election officials, nodal officers and heads of various teams, such as expenditure monitoring and grievance redressal teams, have already been trained. The only training that remains to be carried out is of the poll personnel, which will commence soon,” said the district collector.
Referring to the Model Code of Conduct’s affect on drought-relief measures, Ram said that the administration will seek guidance about proceeding with the various works from the Chief Election Officer. He said that every polling station will have a VVPAT attached to the voting machine, and to ensure flawless functioning of both these machines, various efforts were being taken.
“For the first time, we will provide SMS alerts to every presiding officer at the station so that he’s updated and informed about the working of the machines. Also, vehicles which will be used for movement of EVMs will be GPS-monitored. About 1,000 booths will also have video-casting facility to increase the transparency,” said Ram.