With 80% of the citizens set to vote in the civic elections in the next four months, the state election commission (SEC) has asked the state to ensure the ink is applied only on right hand index finger.
Voters are marked with indelible ink on left hand index finger after voting. The commission wrote to chief secretary Swadheen Kshatriya on Tuesday asking it to take necessary precautions. “The directives have been issued to avoid confusion in the elections. The first phase of the civic elections will be held in 165 municipal councils in 25 districts on November 27, followed by continuous phases over the next four months. The government is expected to convey the message to all the banks,” said an official from the commission.
Shekhar Channe, secretary, SEC, said, “After our request, the government has instructed all banks about the election protocol.”
The state office of the Election Commission of India (ECI) was, however, flooded with calls from bank offices inquiring about the stock of indelible ink. According to the officers, the ink, which lasts for months, is available only after placing orders in advance. “Mysore Paints and Varnish Company is the Central government undertaking which supplies ink during the elections. A private company, too, has been authorised to supply the ink, but it would not be possible for banks to get the stock now. We got calls from the banks, but we couldn’t help,” said an official from the ECI.
Meanwhile, the state has decided to set up a dedicated helpline of 1077 to answer queries related to banking transactions. The helpline has been thrown open in all districts, excluding Mumbai and Mumbai suburban. “The helpline is otherwise monitored by the disaster management cells of all districts. We have now asked district collectors to depute bank officials at the disaster cells to answer queries related to banking transactions,” said an official from Mantralaya.