Agartala: A day before the by-polls in four assembly constituencies of Tripura, Chief Electoral Officer Kiran Gitte on Wednesday appealed to the electorates to cast their votes without any fear, assuring all out support from the Election Commission’s end.
Addressing a press conference at West Tripura DM’s conference hall, Gitte said multi-layer security arrangements ranging from area domination to deployment in polling stations and its peripheries have been put in place considering the grievances forwarded from different political parties.
As many as 73 polling stations out of 221 total have been listed as sensitive under three specific categories such as critical, vulnerable and critically vulnerable, whereas the rest are categorized as normal.
According to the election department data, four polling stations are critical, 59 are vulnerable and 10 are critically vulnerable in all the four assembly constituencies.
As per the assembly wise break up, Jubarajanagar under North Tripura District has one critical, 27 vulnerable and four critically vulnerable polling stations. Surma constituency of Dhalai district has no critical polling stations but there are 21 and six vulnerable and critically vulnerable polling stations.
In Agartala constituency, seven polling stations are identified as vulnerable and for Bordowali there are three critical and four vulnerable polling stations. Both the constituencies come under the jurisdiction of West Tripura district.
While speaking about the efforts being made to ensure free and fair polls, the Chief Electoral Officer said, “Altogether 25 companies of central armed paramilitary forces have been brought for election purpose. From June 9 last, they have been patrolling intensively in the poll-bound areas. Despite all these, we have received around 10 to 15 complaints from different political parties and accordingly, proceedings had been drawn up. Probes are underway in most of the cases.”
Apart from that, the Chief Electoral Officer informed the media that given the concerns of the political parties, webcasting would be done in all the polling stations alongside videography of the aspects that can’t be covered through webcasting.
“Webcasting will be confined to a certain area. It will give real-time information of what is happening inside the polling station. For outside areas, videography will be done in order to make the whole poll process extremely transparent,” he added.
As per the election commission data, a total of 1,89,032 electorates consisting of 95,389 females and 93,638 males are eligible to exercise their universal adult franchise in the four constituencies.
Moreover, 673 in-service voters sent postal ballots through electronically transmitted postal ballot system (ETPBS) while Returning Officers reported that 841 out of 862 poll officials from both police and civil administration cast their votes through postal ballots.
Meanwhile, a total of 1,291 voters cast their votes through the newly-introduced vote from home system exclusively for persons with disabilities and people aged above 80 years. Among them 1,107 electorates belonged to the above 80 years category and 184 voters were persons with disabilities. Additional CEO Usha Jen Mog and Police Nodal Officer for the by-polls GK Rao were also present.
The Chief Electoral Officer also said that all the polling stations have been designed in a way that voters could take shelter in case of light to moderate rainfall. “We have spoken to the IMD; they have informed us that chances of heavy rains are less. But, still as pre-emptive steps we have prepared temporary sheds, opened additional classrooms, whereever available. It can be wise to say, 100 to 150 voters can be kept in the waiting areas if it rains,” he said.
Additional facilities like installation of ramps for persons with disabilities are also being provided, he added.
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