Election Commission today said around 20,000 Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines, which enable voters ascertain if their votes had gone to the candidate of their choice, would be deployed in the states facing Assembly polls.
Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi said, "around 20,000 VVPAT machines will be deployed in a rather proportionate manner in the states going to the (Assembly) polls. This time, Electronic Voting Machines of post 2006 generation alone will be used. We have very well functioning EVMS", Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi said.
Addressing reporters here before wrapping up EC's two-day visit here to review the Assembly poll-related preparations, he said the EC is 'broadly satisfied' with the preparations.
Zaidi said the EC had held detailed review meetings with the Chief Secretary, officials of Elections Department, police, enforcement wings and representatives of political parties.
He said an important feature here would be webcast coverage of all polling booths to keep an eye on those indulging in malpractices.
He said polling booths in three Assembly constituencies-- Uzhavarkarai, Orleanpet and Karaikal South-- in Puducherry (out of total 30 segments) would be equipped with VVVPAT machines.
On law and order in the UT, he said Puducherry has a record of having peaceful polls and steps would be taken to continue the same.
He said Puducherry had established a distinct feature of having close to 100 per cent record in providing basic facilities in polling stations.
Probably for the first time in the country Puducherry would have specially carved out polling stations for the physically-challenged and also in places where there were visually-challenged persons and leprosy centres, he said.
Since Puducherry had porous boundaries, special road checks and setting up of border check-posts and other arrangements would be introduced. Marine policing would also be introduced in the coastal pockets.
A voter centric atmosphere would be created and voters would also feel friendliness of the election Machinery.
He praised the UT for having new special Information Technology initiatives which would address public grievances and ensure effective use of mobile applications.
Special effort would be made "to reassess, review, strengthen and evolve a robust expenditure monitoring system in Puducherry".
He said EC would devote a lot of time to check abuse of money, the most important problem here.
More flying squads with GPS and surveillance teams would be deployed, he said.
Puducherry has a total strength of 9,27,128 voters as on the date of final publication of rolls (January 11).
Election Commissioners A K Joti and O P Rawat and Chief Electoral officer of Puducherry V Candavelou were also present in today's address.
Later PCC president A Namassivayam, MLA, said in its
petition to the CEC, the Congress has said only directly recruited IAS officers should be posted as Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) or District Election Officer (DEO) or Returning officer (RO) as is envisaged in the rules instead of posting officials who have been elevated to the rank of IAS cadre.
Congress also requested the Election commission to ensure that officers drafted for the election related work are not assigned any other executive work.
The election authorities should collect details of the locations where clashes had occurred in the vicinity of the polling booths in the past and precautionary steps should be taken to prevent recurrence of such clashes in the coming elections.
Similarly, police officers, who have been promoted to the rank of IPS, should not be assigned election related law and order maintenance works, the representation, copy of which was distributed to the media by Namassivayam, said.
A delegation of CPI led by RViswanathan presented a petition to the CEC bringing to his notice the distribution of rice, sugar, induction stoves and other essential commodities allegedly by some political parties to the electorate free of cost in some constituencies.
The Commission should take steps to find out through Income Tax department the source of moneyfor those distributing the freebies.
CPI also wanted a proper check of voter's lists as there were incidents of inclusion of persons on the ground that they were road side residents or inmates in old age homes.
The petition alleged that officers, who were trained by Election commission, had been transferred suddenly from their posts without getting the nod of the Election commission. This should be looked into, the petition said.