Delhi municipal polls next year likely to see biometric voters verification system
The biometric system for voter identification introduced in the ongoing panchayat polls in Bihar is not only getting praise from various election bodies but is also likely to be adopted in the upcoming municipal polls in New Delhi early next year, State Election Commissioner, Delhi and Chandigarh, SK Srivastava said.
Srivastava, who was in Bihar from November 24 to 26, visited several booths during the eighth round of panchayat polls at Darbhanga and Muzaffarpur and took an update on the latest digital system adopted in the counting process from State Election Commissioner Bihar, Dr Deepak Prasad.
“The biometric system of voter identification adopted by the State Election Commission (SEC), Bihar, is unique and has proved to be an effective tool in checking bogus voting and rigging. We are impressed by it and are contemplating using the same in the upcoming municipal polls in New Delhi. I did visit booths and saw the system,” Srivastava told reporters before returning to Delhi on Friday evening.
The SEC, Delhi, who is also chairman of the standing committee of state election commissioners across the country, said, advanced electronic voting machines (EVMs) being used for assembly polls and parliamentary polls should be provided by the Election Commission of India (ECI) to SECs for maintaining synergy in the conduct of the polls.
He said the SECs should also get permission to procure multi-post and single-post EVMs for civic polls and panchayat polls as per need from the manufacturing agencies like BEL (Bharat Electronics Limited) and ECIL. “We are soon going to write to the law ministry in this regard. The concept of ‘one nation, one election’ requires that we use the same medium for all elections with a similar type of EVMs,” Srivatasa said.
Before the panchayat polls in Bihar, there was some controversy over the procurement of multi-post EVMs from the ECIL. The SEC moved Patna High Court over delay in grant of permission to the ECIL from the ECI to provide the requisite number of multi-posts EVMs. Later, the matter was resolved with the ECI providing single post EVMs to the state poll panel from various states.
Bihar panchayat polls are being held both with EVMs and ballot papers for six posts in the three-tier rural local bodies.
Bihar SEC Deepak Prasad emphasized that cameras put over all counting tables and OCR (optical character recognition) to capture images of votes secured by candidates in the EVMs and put on the server was also a new step adopted in the panchayat polls and its impact has been positive.
“Complaints of manipulation in counting process has been negligible from candidates. The human interface in the counting process has been reduced and there is more artificial intelligence(AI) in the system,” he said.
Bihar’s 11-phase panchayat polls will conclude on December 12 with the election of 2.55 panchayat representatives, from ward members to district board members in the three-tier local bodies. Panch and sarpanch in gram kutcheries are also being elected at the village panchayat level.