In a move to ensure maximum participation of riot-displaced people in the Gujarat Assembly polls, the Election Commission on Saturday decided to provide a "special facility" for them to exercise their franchise in each district headquarters.
Special polling stations would be set up for these electors at the district collectorate for all the assembly constituencies falling within that district, the EC said in a press note.
Though nearly four lakh voters were reported displaced in the wake of communal violence, 1.76 lakh had already registered themselves for the polling purpose and in the remaining, many of them had shifted in normal course on grounds like marriage, transferable jobs and employment.
The EC had directed a special revision of electoral rolls in all districts except Jamnagar and Dangs by house-to-hour verification of electors during September-October this year.
"There are still many persons who have not returned to their original places and the Commission is yet to compile their number, EC sources said.
In respect of other shifted voters who could not be readily traced out, their names were continued provisionally in the rolls of their original places and letters "HDS" were marked indicating that they had shifted because of their houses having been damaged.
The letter "S" was marked to indicate that they had shifted because of other reasons, including disturbed conditions, the note said. The Commission has now decided that all those electors against whose names letters "HDS" have been marked in the rolls and who have not yet returned to their original places of residence and do not wish to vote there, would be provided reasonable facility to vote in the polls, it said.
In addition, other electors against whose names the letter "S" has been marked would also be permitted to avail the facility at the special polling stations at the district collectorate, if they had to shift from their places of residence because of disturbed conditions and have not yet returned there.
However, the facility would not be available to those electors who had shifted for normal reasons like marriage, transferable jobs and employment.
The electors desiring to avail the special facility must give their intimation in a prescribed form "M" to the District Election Officer-cum-Collector by December 7.
The Commission warned that voting at more than one place was an electoral offence punishable with imprisonment upto one year or with fine or with both.
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