After the state government issued a directive declaring public holiday on the day of polling to ensure maximum voters exercise their franchise, there seems to be a confusion in its implementation among various offices in Pune city, where polling will be held on two days.
The district election office has urged the office management to take its guidance in order to clear confusion on which day to declare holiday. On March 27, the state government had issued a directive, declaring public holiday on the day of polling in the concerned parliamentary constituency.
In Pune district, the polling is on two different days — while Pune and Baramati constituencies will go to polls on April 23, Maval and Shirur constituencies will have polling on April 29.
The public holiday is being declared in constituencies on their respective polling day, but the four parliamentary constituencies in Pune district have part of the city in their jurisdiction. Besides, offices based in these constituencies have staff coming in from all parts of the city, including the parliamentary constituencies that would go to polls on different dates.
As per the government directions, the public holiday would be applicable to the registered voters of the poll-bound areas even if they are working outside the territorial limits of such areas, notwithstanding whether or not such voters belong to central or state government offices, undertakings and other entities.
An employee working in a government office in Kirkee said they have been declared public holiday on April 23 as the office falls in the Pune parliamentary constituency area, but most of the staff live in Maval and Shirur parliamentary constituencies, where polling is scheduled on April 29.
Similarly, the Information Technology Park in Hinjewadi falls in the boundary of Baramati and Maval parliamentary seats with both going to polls on two different days. People working in Hinjewadi IT Park come from across the city, including Maval and Shirur. “The public holiday is not declared as yet. The office cannot afford to keep it shut for two days. The office work is going to get affected on both the days of polling as half of the staff on either day would have to exercise their right to vote,” said a software employee working in Hinjewadi IT Park.
Some companies are planning to keep their offices closed on one day while allowing a relaxation of three hours for those who would be voting on another polling day. Monika Singh, district deputy election officer, said, “The government has declared public holiday on polling day. The government, as well as private organisations, have to give holidays to their staff on their respective voting day. The idea is to enable the maximum public to exercise their right to vote.”
Offices could approach the election offices if they have any confusion over which day to declare the holiday, she said. Meanwhile, the state government has also conveyed that those offices that could not keep their offices closed completely, can give a relaxation of two to three hours to employees, but with the prior permission of the district collector.