VVPAT to be used in 35 Assembly segments in Punjab: CEO

Chandigarh
4 Jan 2017

Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) will be used in 35 out of total 117 Assembly constituencies in Punjab, which is slated to go for polls on February four. Punjab Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Vijoy Kumar Singh today also said VVPATs will be used in keeping in mind sensitivity of the constituency. "VVPATs will be preferably used at district headquarters during the polls," he said. VVPAT is a method of providing feedback to voters. VVPAT is attached to the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) to help electors verify that their vote has been cast correctly. He said an Assistant Commissioner of Income Tax will be stationed at each district. "The officer will have power to carry search on the premises on complaint against any individual," he said. He said 100 observers will be deployed in the state on January 18. These observers will be general, police and expenditure, he added. He said 6,000 pockets in different polling stations have been identified as vulnerable and adequate security arrangements will be made at there. The Model Code of Conduct was enforced in the state after 12 PM today immediately after ECI announced the election schedule for Punjab, he said. He said candidates contesting the polls will have to furnish an affidavit mentioning that he has no dues against his name in form of electricity bill, telephone bill or any other fees, including rent of the house. He said the expenses of booths set up near the polling stations will be borne by the candidate and not by his party. The maximum expenditure limit per candidate has been fixed at Rs 28 lakh. He said around 70,000 voters have been identified as disabled and special provisions will be made for them to exercise their franchise. He said an Information Technology (IT)-enabled complaint monitoring system has been set up at the Commission's office. "So far we have received around 500 complaints and majority of these have been resolved. Most of these complaints were regarding not getting the EPIC," he said. He said a 24 hours toll free number 1950 has been started to receive complaints. Besides, complaints can be made online on 'Samadhan' portal, he said. Electoral rolls will be published tomorrow, he said, adding, new voters can get registered by January nine. He said the commission is committed to hold elections in a free, fair and peaceful manner. He said webcasting will be done on 4,000 polling stations. 165 NRIs have been registered as voters and they will have to come to Punjab to exercise their franchise. At few constituencies electronic voting will be allowed for defence personnel, he said. On a question about Aam Aadmi Party Delhi MLA Jarnail Singh's eligibility to contest polls from Punjab, he said, "He will have to present a proof that he is a resident of the state."  Nominations will be held from January 11 to 18, withdrawal by any candidate can be done by January 21 and polling will take place on February four. The results will be declared on March 11. A high-stake election will be held in the state where SAD-BJP will make attempt to remain in power for the third term whereas Congress and new entrant AAP will try to wrest power.(PTI)