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Adequate security provided in Gujarat: Lyngdoh
December 11, 2002 17:56 IST
Chief Election Commissioner J M Lyngdoh on Wednesday asserted that adequate security arrangements had been made for the conduct of free and fair polls in Gujarat on Thursday. Seventeen foreign diplomats and 20 special observers will witness the polls in 181 assembly constituencies. The election has been countermanded in the Surat West constituency following the death of Bharatiya Janata Party candidate Hemant Chapatwala.
Asserting that the security will ensure "unhindered" participation, Lyngdoh asked the political parties to check their "overenthusiastic" supporters. "The commission expects all political parties to conduct themselves in a responsible manner, check their overenthusiastic supporters, and see that things are kept under control," he said.
Lyngdoh assured the 3.32 crore electorate of the state that "the security forces are in adequate number and on high alert to protect you while you vote." Seventeen diplomats -- eight from the United States, three from the United Kingdom, two each from the European Union and the Netherlands, and one each from Italy and Sweden -- will witness the polls.
He said 36,657 polling stations have been set up across the state. The commission took a "lot of pains" on special revision of electoral rolls, particularly to include those who had migrated following communal riots early this year. About 1,76,000 such voters have been located and included in the rolls.
For those who remained untraced, special police stations have been set up in Patan, Panchmahals and Anand districts to allow them to vote at the original place of residence. Lyngdoh said voters will have to prove their identity either by the Election Commission's photo identity card or other documents prescribed by the commission.
In order to eliminate "bias" by the local staff in the conduct of elections, 50 per cent of the polling staff in a district will be from outside that district. "Thus, out of four officials in a polling party, two will be from outside the district and the other two will be from outside the assembly constituency in which they serve," he said.
Nearly 800 passes have been issued for reporters.With the state's armed police and the local police available, the commission is confident that the administration will leave no scope for 'mischief-makers'.
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