The Election Commission is all geared up to conduct postal ballot at various facilitation centres across Gujarat, where about three lakh polling staffers — including policemen — are expected to cast their votes, officials said.
Around 9,000 policemen engaged in poll duty have already cast their votes through postal ballots at the facilitation centres set up across the state, they said.
“An estimated three lakh people engaged in poll duty, including policemen, are expected to cast their votes at the facilitation centres set up in the state for postal ballot, making it the biggest such exercise ever,” Gujarat chief election officer Anita Karwal said.
“Previously, employees deputed for polling duty used to get ignored. We took pro-active measures and got all of them them registered. Some of those engaged in phase-I polling have already cast their votes through the postal ballot,” she said.
Earlier, employees on poll duty had the option of casting their votes only through post, but not many would exercise their franchise. Also, it was doubtful if the ballot sent by post would reach on time, an official said.
This time, voting through the postal ballot is likely to increase manifold, compared to the 2007 assembly polls, given the special arrangements being made — such as opening of facilitation centres. Only around 30,000 votes were cast through the postal ballot in the 2007 assembly poll.
The exercise, which was taken up through the postal ballot, began at a facilitation centre last week in Jamnagar.
The Election Commission has directed that all police personnel in the state, who are covered under the notification issued by the state government in terms of Section 28A of the Representation of the People Act-1951, would be treated as personnel on election duty, and would be entitled to vote through the postal ballot.
Assembly elections would be held in Gujarat in two phases on December 13 and 17, while counting would take place on December 20.