Agartala: The central exchange programme for postal ballots and election duty certificates (EDC) against forms 12 and 12 (A) was completed in Agartala’s Umakanta Academy in West Tripura constituency on Thursday. Accordingly, polling officials and security personnel who will be on duty during the two-phase Lok Sabha elections in the state will vote on April 8 and 12.
EDC forms are made available for various polling staff that will be on duty during the ensuing Lok Sabha elections across the country. The certificate will enable the officials to exercise their right to vote at the polling station where they are assigned for election duty.
Addressing a press conference, chief electoral officer (CEO) Sriram Taranikanti said, “Assistant Returning Officers (ARO) from all the 60 assembly segments arrived here in the morning and the exchange programme of ballot and EDC papers was completed by today [on Friday] itself.”
“The AROs will make the postal ballots and EDC tomorrow and again bring them back to the centre in Agartala. From there, the postal ballots will be sent to eight district facilitation centres and the EDCs will be sent to the sub-division offices which will be provided to the police personnel by the end of the third round of training,” added the CEO.
Once the EDC is issued in favour of someone, he will not be able to vote in his home polling station, as he will be marked as EDC in the station’s electoral roll. He will have to cast his vote from elsewhere, added Taranikanti.
He said that the EDC holding police and Tripura State Riffles personnel will be allowed to cast their votes in uniforms but they will have to deposit their weapons at the counters outside the polling station, which will be made available for them.
Further, around 7,000 ballot papers would be used for voting in the state by services voters on April 8 in West Tripura constituency and on April 12 in East Tripura constituency.
The CEO also informed that a micro-observer would be deployed for each polling station and they will be posted outside of home district.
“Selection of polling district will be done on random basis and we have asked returning officers to take it up in front of observers,” he said.
Further, Taranikanti said, “The election commission has also arranged a tracking application for all the 400 sector officers who would be moving around with the EVMs so that we can track the movements of the EVMs. The application has been tested, and the district magistrates and observers have also been briefed.”
He informed that the flying squad has seized materials worth Rs 1.1 crore, including drugs worth Rs 57 lakh, liquor worth Rs 34 lakh and cash amounting to Rs 18 lakh.
The CEO also said, “Patrolling has also started in different parts of the state including vulnerable areas and we have identified 10 % to 15 % of such areas in both the constituencies.”