Depending on the preparedness of poll staff and availability of electronic voting machines (EVMs), the state election commission (SEC) will decide whether the counting of votes of zilla parishad (ZP) and municipal corporation elections could be carried out on the day of voting itself.
State election commissioner Neela Satyanarayan, on Thursday, said: “The SEC has requested for additional 40,000 EVMs from the Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL), Hyderabad. The availability of machines would be known by January 21. The preparedness of the municipal commissioners concerned would also have to be taken into account.”
At an earlier review meeting, it was contended that additional arrangements for meals and security could be avoided by counting votes on the day of voting. The EVMs — with a multi-member election facility — would be different from those used for Assembly and Lok Sabha polls. Additional chief secretary Chand Goyal is in touch with the ECIL authorities regarding the procurement of machines, she said.
In case of naxal-hit areas such as Gadchiroli, adequate police force would be deployed for the elections. The SEC is holding meetings with collectors and police officers, said Satyanarayan.
About complaints of poll code violation by deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar during a bhoomipujan ceremony for a multi-layer flyover near Sancheti bridge in Pune on January 3, she said that Pawar has clarified that it was an all-party function and that his speech was not political in nature. Pune municipal commissioner, Mahesh Pathak, in his report to the SEC, said that the minister has neither used the official car nor made any political speech. Consequently, the EC would close the chapter after seeking legal opinion.
Contrary to reports, the state election commissioner said that she had not received complaints from chief minister Prithviraj Chavan and union minister for urban development, Kamal Nath, against Nagpur Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders who used their photographs in their advertisement campaign.
The local Congress leaders had taken strong exception to the advertisement by BJP that carried photographs of Chavan and Kamal Nath lauding the efforts of BJP-controlled Nagpur Municipal Corporation for initiating a 24X7 water supply scheme. The Congress leadership had complained to the SEC, and claimed that the duo too has lodged complaints.