Indelible mark just got bigger
TILL NOW, a little black dot on the left forefinger was the mark of democracy. But the tiny mark also proved to be a blessing for bogus voters who would rub it off in haste before turning up to cast a second vote. Not any more. The dot will be replaced by thin black line from the tip of the left forefinger to the first joint.
Reacting to complaints that the ink mark was not permanent, the EC has changed the 54-year-old rule on how electoral officers apply the indelible mark on a voter's finger. It will be introduced from the coming assembly elections in four states and a Union territory in April-May. A pilot project was conducted in a by-election after the order was passed in February. "The ink we have been using was silver nitrate and its reaction to the nail was based on exposure to light - it gets darker in light," said an EC official. "The ink mark could be removed by scrubbing it immediately after it was put while some even used chemicals.''
Electoral officers have also been directed to keep a close watch on voters as they go to the electronic voting machine (EVM) after being marked. "If he is seen rubbing off the mark, the officer will put the mark for the second time,'' the official added.
The "indelible ink", as it is officially called, was first manufactured by Delhi-based National Physical Laboratory (NPL). Now the manufacturing rights are with Mysore Paints and Varnish, a Karnataka government undertaking.