J&K’s 6 Seats To Have 5 Phase Polls, 7mn Voters Eligible For Franchise

J&K’s 6 Seats To Have 5 Phase Polls, 7mn Voters Eligible For Franchise

5 March 2014
The Daily Excelsior
Sanjeev Pargal

Jammu: The Election Commission today announced five phase Lok Sabha elections in Jammu and Kashmir from April 10 to May 7. Of six Lok Sabha constituencies in the State, one each would go to polls in four phases i.e. one seat in one phase while in the fifth phase, two Lok Sabha seats would have the election. Addressing a press conference here this afternoon few hours after the Election Commission of India announced the countrywide schedule for general elections, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Jammu and Kashmir, Umang Narula said Jammu-Poonch Lok Sabha seat would go to elections on April 10, Udhampur-Doda on April 17, Anantnag-Pulwama on April 24, Srinagar-Budgam on April 30 and Baramulla-Kupwara and Ladakh segments on May 7. Counting for all Lok Sabha seats would be held on May 16 while entire electoral process will be completed before May 28. Mr Narula said with the announcement of elections, the Model Code of Conduct has come into the force. The Code of Conduct would remain in force till the new Lok Sabha is constituted before May 28. The final voters’ tally of Jammu and Kashmir has touched 7 million, the CEO said, adding there were a total of 69,33,118 electorates apart from 58,279 service voters. The voters included 32,75,241 females. Mr Narula said the notification for Jammu-Poonch Lok Sabha seat, which would go to polls on April 10, would be issued on March 15. The candidates can file nomination papers till March 22. Scrutiny of nominations will be conducted on March 24 while the candidates can withdraw their nomination papers till March 26. The notification for Udhampur-Doda Lok Sabha seat would be issued on March 19 and the candidates can file their nomination papers till March 26. Scrutiny of nominations will be held on March 27 while last date for withdrawal of nominations is March 29. Voting will be held on April 17. For Anantnag-Pulwama Lok Sabha seat, which would go to polls on April 24, the Returning Officer would issue the notification on March 29 while last date for filing of nominations would be April 5, scrutiny will take place on April 7 and candidates can withdraw their nominations till April 9. Notification for Srinagar-Budgam Lok Sabha seat will be issued on April 2. The candidates can file nomination papers till April 9. Scrutiny of nominations will be held on April 12 while last date for withdrawal of candidature is April 12. Polling will be held on April 30. Two Lok Sabha segments of Baramulla-Kupwara and Ladakh will go to polls on May 7. A notification for the elections would be issued on April 12 while the candidates can file their nomination papers up to April 19. Scrutiny of nominations will take place on April 21 and the candidates can withdraw their nomination papers till April 23. Mr Narula said a process has been set into motion to hold the elections in free, fair and transparent manner. A total of 9633 polling stations have been set up across the State, 4059 of which have been identified as critical polling stations as per the preliminary assessment. In 2009 Lok Sabha elections, there were 9127 polling stations. “This shows an increase of about 500 polling stations in Jammu and Kashmir during 2014 elections as compared to 2009 general polls,’’ he said, adding that 9633 polling stations would be spread across 7346 locations. Some locations would have two polling stations. Mr Narula announced that the Election Commission would deploy general observers, expenditure observers and awareness observers to monitor expenditure by the elections and create awareness among the electorates about the election process and participate in it. Replying to a question on deployment of para-military forces and police for adequate security for Lok Sabha elections, Mr Narula said the requirement of para-military forces worked out by the Deputy Commissioners and the SSPs would be provided for the polls. “There would be adequate deployment for the elections in all five phases to ward off any law and order problem. The deployment of para-military forces and police would be made as per the requirement,’’ the CEO said. To another question on spread of elections of just six Lok Sabha seats of the State to five phases, he said: “this has been done to ensure free and fair elections by ensuring adequate deployment of forces and have good polls’’. Mr Narula said a contingency plan was also in place for the polling stations falling along the borders especially those within the firing range of Pakistan Army and Rangers. He disclosed that a polling station has been set up for just seven votes. “Every care has been taken to ensure that the electorates get all opportunities to exercise their right to franchise,’’ he added. Responding to another concern on steps taken to check rigging during the elections, the CEO said this was basic concern of the Election Commission of India. “We have decided to hold videography, use digital cameras, deploy micro observers and install web casting cameras in the polling stations to keep strict surveillance on any complaints of rigging or bogus voting. Apart from this, the election observers would also tour the polling stations to monitor the elections process,’’ he added. He said the Election Commission has set up Flying Squads and deployed observers to monitor any violation of Model Code of Conduct. The people can also lodge complaints about the violation of Model Code of Conduct and other election related problems on toll free numbers 1077 and 18001807062. Mr Narula said the Election Commission would launch a special campaign to display electoral rolls with all Election Returning Officers and Booth Level Officers on March 9 at every polling station. The voters can check their names in the electoral lists. The voters would also be issued photo voter slip. The electorates can cast their votes with photo voter slip as an identification document, he said. About 92 per cent electorates in the State have photo electoral rolls. Replying to a question of boycott call given by the Hurriyat Conference for elections, Mr Narula said: “we will do our best to attract voters to the polling stations. The voters should come forward to cast their votes in the interest of democracy’’. He reiterated that option of None Of The Above (NOTA) would be applicable in the general elections. He said first level checking of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) has been completed while second level checking would be done after announcement of the candidates.