Ballot papers are history: Election Commission

Mumbai: Election Commission has once again ruled out the use of ballot papers for Maharashtra election. The opposition party had demanded to conduct polls on ballot as a test case. But the Central Election Commission had rejected this demand.

“Now the ballot papers are history,” said the Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora. General Secretary of State Congress Rajesh Sharma said that they requested EC to hold election in Maharashtra with ballot papers as people have serious doubts about EVM.

He also said that the election commission must take into consideration the Diwali festival while finalising the dates of election. “But movement of Central forces from one place to another is a significant factor in deciding polling dates”, said Arora. He was addressing a media briefing ahead of next month's State Assembly polls.

As usual, the election dates will be announced soon in Delhi, the CEC said. The EC reviewed preparedness of Maharashtra state administration for elections. More Central armed forces would be deployed in Left Wing Extremism-affected areas, the CEC said.

Voter's slip distribution should be started early enough, he said, adding that Maharashtra's Chief Electoral Officer has assured that more care will be taken on this count.

No change in expenditure limit

The CEC said the Assembly poll expenditure limit of candidates cannot be changed for now. His comments come in the wake of parties like the Shiv Sena and the NCP demanding that ceiling be raised from the present Rs 28 lakh per candidate. The parties also said polling stations should be located on ground floor to facilitate senior citizens and differently-abled persons, he said. The state administration has already shifted many polling stations to ground floor, he said.

Arora said during their visit to Maharashtra, the election commissioners on Wednesday interacted with political parties, district administration and central regulatory agencies, Chief Secretary, DGP and other senior officials to review preparations for the State Assembly elections. The Election Commission of India has sought effective utilisation of IT applications such as CVigil, a tool of citizen empowerment, he said.

State demands additional force

The state will have 99, 250 polling stations and out of these 2,747 are very sensitive. Thane district has 599 and Mumbai has 325 sensitive stations. The state has decided to deploy 1,72,935 police for the election. There will 166 check post on boundaries of the state. The state has demanded additional forces for the election.

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