Bangalore, Apr 14 UNI | 4 months ago

The election officials in Karnataka are braced up to ensure clean and fair elections in the state, which had come under appreciation of conducting polls in a seamless fashion on earlier occasions.

Chief Electoral Officer Anil Kumar Jha today said over 2.95 lakh poll officials and staff will be on duty during the single phase polling for the 28 segments on April 17 in the state.

'Our special focus will remain on rooting out bribery and impersonation. Anyone who gives money to a voter or anyone who receives money from political parties will be punished. Such offence will attract a jail term of up to one year,' Mr Jha warned.

Speaking to reporters here, the CEO advised all electronic media organisations not to telecast poll analysis or panel discussion, which at some stage, may take a turn that amount to promoting a candidate.

'All exit polls will be banned after 1800 hrs tomorrow (April 15), when the public campaign ends. Poll summary, reviews and opinion polls will also not allowed to be telecast from tomorrow evening till the polling ends at 1800 hrs on April 17,' he said.

Mr Jha said any violation of the order under Peoples' Representation Act will attract penal offence with penalty up to two years of imprisonment.

'I appeal to channels that a panel discussion may inadvertently move towards an end that can influence the final outcome of the election in a particular segment. So, it is better to stay away from such operation,' he said.

Meanwhile, the officer said distribution of EPIC numbers to all voters was being conducted and they would be provided the slips at their residences. Otherwise, they could collect it at their particular polling boots.

'We will also allow political parties to set up booths 200 m away from the polling stations and allow them to distribute 'unofficial' polling slips. But it will be on a blank paper and no political symbol, name of the party or a message can be printed on it.

"The booth can have a table, two chairs and umbrella or a covering on the top to protect the workers from Sun,' he explained.

The official said voters will be allowed to exercise their franchise producing any one of a number of ID proof certificates. This includes EPIC cards, Driver's licence, MGNREGA ID cards, smart cards and government or public ltd company ID cards will be allowed, he added.

'Voters need not be worried if there is a minor spelling mistake. But if the identity is proved, all of them will be able to vote,' he said.

The CEO said Karnataka will have a total of 54,264 polling booths, out of which 11,424 are considered hyper-sensitive and 14,968 are sensitive. Proper security will be ensured in such booths.

He said a total number of 60,000 policemen and women will be on security duty and this will include both state and Central security forces.

'We are deploying over 15,000 vehicles ranging from buses, jeeps, cars and vans for polling staff across Karnataka and another 5000 for sector officials to move around.

Mr Jha said the Lok Sabha election in Karnataka is expected to cost a budgeted amount of Rs 200 crore.

(Posted on 15-04-2014)