Stepping up its preparations for the assembly polls in five states due early next year, the Election Commission Wednesday reviewed advance planning with the chief electoral officers of Goa, Manipur, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.
While the terms of the legislative assemblies of Goa, Manipur, Punjab and Uttarakhand are scheduled to end on different dates in March 2022, the UP assembly's term ends in May.
The five assembly polls could be held together early next year.
The Wednesday's preliminary meeting focused on various thematic issues including assured minimum facilities at polling stations, ease of registration for voters, electoral roll, timely resolution of grievances, arrangements of electronic voting and paper trail machines, postal ballot facility for senior citizens who are 80 and above, and people with disabilities.
Covid mitigation plan, training of poll staff and extensive voter outreach were amongst the other issues discussed, according to an official statement.
Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra in his address said transparency and impartiality are the hallmark of the election process.
He noted that issues and challenges may be different in each state, but election planning needs to have a voter-centric approach and participative decision-making involving all stakeholders.
During his address, the CEC stressed on the significance of the purity of the electoral roll and asked the CEOs for expeditious redressal of all pending applications for voter registration.
He also emphasised the rationalisation of polling stations keeping in view the Covid pandemic and reiterated the need to have basic facilities and infrastructure in all polling stations.
Chandra said all logistical challenges in implementation of postal ballot facility for senior citizens and persons with disabilities need to be identified and resolved for its smooth and transparent implementation during the elections.
Election Commissioner Anup Chandra Pandey, while interacting with the CEOs, emphasised that periodic and comprehensive monitoring on each aspect of election should be done by the CEOs of all the poll-going states.
He highlighted the need to activate the ground level election machinery in the five states to start the preparations.
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