A trio of women is handling the electoral process for the Punjab assembly elections. Not surprisingly, they want the female staff deployed on poll duty to expect no relaxation.
Chief electoral officer (CEO) Kusumjit Sidhu, special CEO Usha R Sharma and Kavita Chauhan, incharge of the poll rolls and EPIC (elector photo identity cards) data base, have been largely responsible for the smooth conduct of the pre-poll proceedings so far.
Some representatives of female poll officials reportedly met Sidhu, requesting her to allow them to report for duty on the morning of the polling day (January 30) or spend the night of January 29 at the houses of relatives, friends, etc. living near polling stations.
But they got a firm no from the 1979-batch IAS officer. The CEO has strictly instructed district election officers (DEO) and returning officers (RO) to ensure that no poll official stays outside polling stations. Sidhu said this was necessary to avoid allegations of favouritism.
Sidhu, however, told DEOs and ROs to make arrangements for a comfortable stay of women poll officials at polling stations.
As per Election Commission directions, it is mandatory for the polling staff to spend the night prior to the elections at the polling stations.
Women from various government departments have been assigned the duties of presiding officer, assistant presiding officer, polling officer and voter facilitation staff.