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Women exempted from poll duty in Dakha

Decision taken in light of Dakha being declared a sensitive area, owing to acts of poll violence in the past
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By Deepa Sharma, Ludhiana
PUBLISHED ON OCT 19, 2019 12:15 AM IST

Taking a precautionary measure against any untoward incident during the by-elections scheduled to be held in Dakha constituency on October 21, women have been exempted from poll duty.

The decision was taken as all the polling booths have been declared sensitive. According to the list released by the district election officer-cum-deputy commissioner, around 900 male employees has been deputed as polling officers and presiding officers at 220 polling booths at 135 locations in Dakha constituency. As per the list, all the employees on duty are school teachers.

During the Lok Sabha elections held in May this year, 60% (6,049) of the women deputed across nine assembly segments faced many challenges to reach the booths. A total of 10,413 polling staff were deputed at 1,594 polling booths across the district on May 19 this year.

As per sources, women have been exempted from duty as during the panchayat elections held in December last year, violence was reported at Detwal village in Mullanpur Dakha where sloganeering workers of two parties confronted each other and guns were fired.

In the Dakha constituency, there are 220 polling stations for 1.8 lakh voters; and 809 police personnel as well as paramilitary forces will be deputed on polling day. To monitor the election process, micro observers will be deputed. Being a sensitive constituency, the Election Commission has decided to monitor the polling booths through webcasting.

Women teachers who had been alloted booths situated in periphery areas have applauded the move. An ETT teacher, Shalini Pathak, said, “I think it is a good decision as many female teachers face issues spending nights at the booths.” DEO-cum-DC Pradeep Kumar Agarwal said, “We have exempted women staff from polling duty as the bypolls are to be held for only one constituency. We required around 900 employees for polling duty and male staff was sufficient for that.”

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