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Today's Bulletin - Wednesday, July 6, 2022

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ECI asks CEO J&K to collect 14850 VVPATs from ECIL

ECI asks CEO J&K to collect 14850 VVPATs from ECIL

Another step towards Assembly polls in J&K


JAMMU, June 21 : After announcing publication of draft rolls by August 31, the Election Commission of India has taken another step forward towards conduct of Assembly elections in Jammu and Kashmir by asking the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of the Union Territory to collect 14850 M3-VVPATs (Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail) machines from Telangana in Hyderabad. The Election Commission of India has issued the instructions to the CEO Jammu and Kashmir vide a letter today. Soon after receiving the directions from the Election Commission of India, CEO Jammu and Kashmir Hirdesh Kumar today directed the officers to collect 14850 VVPATs from Electronics Corporation of India Limited (ECIL) at Hyderabad in Telengana. Kumar has directed that shifting of VVPATs to Jammu and Kashmir should start from June 29. He has appointed Assistant CEO Kashmir Mohammad Altaf and Assistant CEO Jammu Rohit Kashyap to coordinate shifting of VVPATs from ECIL to Kashmir and Jammu divisions respectively. “The VVPATs will be delivered to all 20 districts of Jammu and Kashmir,” sources said. VVPATs, as per sources, are used for providing feedback to voters using a ballotless voting system. It is intended as an independent verification system for voting machines designed to allow voters to verify that their vote was cast correctly, to detect possible election fraud or malfunction, and to provide a means to audit the stored electronic results. It contains the name of the candidate (for whom vote has been cast) and symbol of the party/individual candidate. Sources said Jammu and Kashmir might also need more EVMs which would be subsequently brought to the Union Territory based on total requirements. Only a day before, the CEO Jammu vide Election Commission’s notification No. 508/J&K/2022, had ordered appointments of District Election Officers (DEOs), Electoral Registration Officers (EROs), Assistant Electoral Registration Officers (AEROs), AEROs (Migrant) and Special AEROs for Cantonment area in the UT of Jammu and Kashmir. There have also been indications that 350 additional paramilitary companies deployed in Jammu and Kashmir ahead of annual pilgrimage of Shri Amarnath Ji shrine might stay put in the Union Territory even after culmination of the yatra. Last week, the Election Commission directed that the draft rolls in Jammu and Kashmir will be prepared by August 31. However, holding the Assembly elections will depend on security situation prevailing in Jammu and Kashmir then. Though the Election Commission is sole authority for conduct of polls, it has to take reports of the Union Home Ministry and Jammu and Kashmir Government into consideration before taking a call on the polls. It can also send independent observers to assess the situation. The electoral roll revision needs to be carried out before the first Assembly election is conducted in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. Jammu and Kashmir is without Assembly since 2018. The BJP had withdrawn support to Mehbooba Mufti-led PDP Government on June 19, 2018 after which Mufti resigned as the Chief Minister. Then Governor of Jammu and Kashmir Satyapal Malik had dissolved the Legislative Assembly on November 22, 2018. Sources said that intensive and time-bound pre-revision activities are required due to the redrawing of electoral constituencies in Jammu and Kashmir. While Jammu got six additional seats, Kashmir was given one. Directions have also been given for the appointment of officials for the work on updating voter list. Re-serialization, mapping and renaming of Polling Stations post the delimitation will be done by June 30, in addition to the identification of polling stations for those villages where new booths need to be created. After the delimitation, some of the earlier Polling Stations may come under more than one new constituency or may be completely shifted to another segment. The Polling Stations will be mapped accordingly. The appointment of booth level officers and their proper training will be done by July 5. Verification and rationalization of polling booths will be done by July 25. Finally, the draft rolls need to be prepared by August 31, sources said. During the revision exercise, citizens would be given opportunities to enroll, delete and change their particulars in the electoral rolls. Last month, the Central Government had issued a notification saying that the orders of the Delimitation Commission which redrew electoral constituencies would come into effect from May 20.(By Daily Excelsior )

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