Voter Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) will be used in 35 out of total 117 assembly constituencies in Punjab, which is slated to go to polls on February 4. Punjab chief electoral officer (CEO) VK Singh on Wednesday said that VVPATs will be used in keeping in mind sensitivity of the constituency.
VVPAT is a method of providing feedback to voters. VVPAT is attached to the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) to help electors verify that their vote has been cast correctly.
“VVPATs will be preferably used at district headquarters during the polls,” he said.
He added that an assistant commissioner of income tax will be stationed at each district. “The officer will have power to carry search on the premises on complaint against any individual,” he said.
He said 100 observers will be deployed in the state on January 18. Also, 6,000 pockets in different polling stations have been identified as vulnerable, and adequate security arrangements will be made at there.
The model code of conduct was enforced in the state after noon on Wednesday, immediately after the EC announced the election schedule for Punjab, he said.
He said candidates contesting the polls will have to furnish an affidavit mentioning that he has no dues against his name in form of electricity bill, telephone bill or any other fees, including rent of the house.
He said the expenses of booths set up near the polling stations will be borne by the candidate and not by his party.
The maximum expenditure limit per candidate has been fixed at Rs 28 lakh.
He said around 70,000 voters have been identified as disabled and special provisions will be made for them to exercise their franchise.
An information technology (IT)-enabled complaint-monitoring system has been set up at the poll panel’s office. “So far we have received around 500 complaints and majority of these have been resolved. Most of these complaints were regarding not getting the voter card,” he said.
He said a 24x7 toll-free number 1950 has been started to receive complaints. Besides, complaints can be made online on the ‘Samadhan’ portal, he said.
Electoral rolls will be published on Thursday, he said, adding, new voters can get registered by January 9.
So far, 165 NRIs have been registered as voters and they will have to come to Punjab to exercise their franchise. At few constituencies electronic voting will be allowed for defence personnel, he said.
Webcasting will be done on 4,000 polling stations.
On a question about Aam Aadmi Party Delhi MLA Jarnail Singh’s eligibility to contest polls from Punjab, he said, “He will have to present a proof that he is a resident of the state.”
Nominations will be held from January 11 to 18, withdrawal by any candidate can be done by January 21 and polling will take place on February 4. The results will be declared on March 11.
A high-stake election will be held in the state where the SAD-BJP will make attempt to remain in power for the third term whereas Congress and new entrant AAP will try to wrest power.