With the mark of indelible ink already on the index finger of their left hand, about 7,500 employees of the rail coach factory in Kapurthala have put the Election Commission of India (ECI) in a quandary.
These employees participated in their union elections last week, in which indelible ink was used to identify those who had cast their vote.
Interestingly, the employees, most of them males, have the indelible ink mark on the index finger of their left hand. As per the ECI norms, male voters get ink mark on the index finger of their left hand and females get the same on the index finger of their right hand during the assembly and parliamentary elections.
“Technically, these employees are not eligible to vote for the forthcoming parliamentary polls now since they already have an ink mark on their index finger. But we are looking for a way out,” said Kapurthala deputy commissioner-cum-district election officer DS Mangat, adding that he had written to the ECI regarding this.
The issue was brought to the notice of deputy election commissioner Alok Shukla, who is in-charge of Punjab, during his visit to Ludhiana on Sunday. He asked for a written representation from the district election officer.
Sources said the issue had put the ECI officials in a dilemma initially but now they are working on a possible way out. The RCF employees may be allotted a different finger for the parliamentary polls, said Mangat who is awaiting the ECI’s advisory.
“Certainly, it is not going to be the index finger of left hand for these 7,500 voters,” said Mangat.
50,700 litres of ink procured
As much as 50,700 litres of indelible ink will be used for about 1.95 crore voters who are expected to cast their vote in the state on April 30.
The consignment of ink has already arrived and is stored in Patiala. "The total cost of ink, procured from Nasik-based Mysore Paints, is Rs 77 lakh," said additional chief electoral officer (CEO) Raminder Singh.
The indelible ink comes in the vials of 140 ml packing and four vials are issued to a polling station with the voter strength of 1,000 voters.