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No paramilitary forces for Ludhiana MC polls as of now: Punjab election commissioner

For fair elections: Says the forces will be deployed only if the police department feels the pressure or recommends it; police commissioner working to identify sensitive booths.

punjab Updated: Feb 07, 2018 14:50 IST
Harsimran Singh Batra
Harsimran Singh Batra
Hindustan Times, Ludhiana
paramilitary forces,Ludhiana MC polls,Punjab election commissioner
State election commissioner Jagpal Singh Sandhu (extreme right) addressing the media at the Circuit House in Ludhiana on Tuesday. (Gurminder Singh/HT)

State election commissioner Jagpal Singh Sandhu has said paramilitary forces will be deployed for the municipal elections, to be held on February 24, only if the police department feels the pressure or recommends it.

He also the election commission would consider the opposition parties’ demand to videograph the polling process on their own.

Sandhu, along with DGP (Provisioning, IT and election cell) VK Bhawra, conducted several meetings today with district administration officials, including deputy commissioner-cum-district electoral officer Pradeep Agarwal, police commissioner RN Dhoke and MC commissioner Jaskiran Singh to review preparations for the upcoming elections.

The state election commissioner said that police commissioner Dhoke was working to identify sensitive booths in the city and different parties have also been brought on board for pointing out the sensitive booths in the city.

“Once those booths are identified, videography will be done there,” he added.

Dhoke said that all the arms issued in the city area will be withdrawn before the elections and will be released only after the completion of the poll process.

Helpline numbers will be issued before the elections for residents and the political parties to file any election-related complaints, he added. As many as 1,155 polling stations will be set up in the city and around 7,000 polling staff will be on duty for the upcoming elections.

Speaking on the allegations of tampering of voting machines (EVMs), Sandhu said that no such incident has been reported in the past and will not happen this time either. “One EVM got damaged during the Patiala MC elections a few months back and re-polling was conducted at the booth.We will also ensure that there is tight security at all the strongrooms where EVMs will be stored,” he added.

Election commissioner speaks:

On CM announcing the election date

When asked to comment on chief minister Amarinder Singh announcing the election dates before the formal announcement by the state election commission, Sandhu said that the CM’s job starts only after the election commission announces the elections. The opposition had earlier raised objections, claiming that the state election commission and government machinery was working on the directions of the Congress party.

On the time gap between polling day and the announcement of results

On the time gap between polling day and the announcement of results, Sandhu said more time was needed as they needed to get reports from the observers and returning officers and, if required, to conduct re-polling. He also said that the standard procedure of the election commission of India (ECI) states that there should be a gap between the polling day and announcement of results.

Checklist for nominations

A checklist will be given to the candidates while filing nominations to avoid chances of candidates complaining that their papers have been wrongly rejected. Sandhu said that the checklist will be acknowledged by the RO at the time of filing of papers.

First Published: Feb 07, 2018 14:50 IST