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EC sets up 200 polling booths inside UP housing societies to pull voters

By Arunav Sinha
April 14, 2024 18:36 IST
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The Election Commission of India has set up more than 200 polling stations within housing societies in the urban areas of Uttar Pradesh to increase the voter turnout in the politically crucial state.

Photograph: Raminder Pal Singh/ANI Photo

In an interview with PTI, state's Chief Electoral Officer Navdeep Rinwa said the poll body is targeting urban areas that have registered a low voter turnout in the past and expressed that Uttar Pradesh will secure the first position as far as voting percentage is concerned.

In the 2019 Lok Sabha elections, the voting percentage in Uttar Pradesh was a tepid 59.11 per cent.


"We have taken a number of important steps to ensure that all kinds of barriers that prevent voters from casting votes are removed. We have ensured that the polling station is located within a two-kilometre radius of every voter.

"Also in urban areas, we have undertaken a new initiative of setting up polling stations within gated communities and multi-storeyed housing societies where there has been a low voter turnout in the past," Rinwa told PTI.

The senior official said 200-plus polling booths have been set up across the state, with Noida taking the lead.

"Uttar Pradesh has the maximum number of such polling stations and Noida has taken the lead in this regard. Ghaziabad, Lucknow, Kanpur, Bareilly and even Mathura will have such polling stations," Rinwa said.

Asked if the polling percentage in Uttar Pradesh will exceed 60 per cent this time, the CEO said, "I am confident that UP voters will score the first division and pass with flying colours."

Rinwa highlighted that SVEEP (Systematic Voter's Education and Electoral Participation) activities are also ongoing in the state.

SVEEP is a flagship programme of the Election Commission for voter education, spreading voter awareness and promoting voter literacy.

On the tepid voter turnout in 2019, Rinwa said, "To find out the reasons, we have taken a bottoms-up approach for each assembly constituency.

"We have asked the EROs (electoral registration officers) and DMs (district magistrates) to prepare a Turnout Implementation Plan (TIP) -- an initiative of the ECI -- to identify the reasons for the low turnout in each assembly constituency and polling station. This is happening for the first time in the country," Rinwa said.

Rinwa said, this time, more than 15.30 crore people across Uttar Pradesh would be exercising their franchise and the voting will be held from 7 am to 6 pm -- except in two assembly constituencies of Sonbhadra district, as it was earlier affected by Left Wing Extremism.

Sonbhadra shares its boundaries with Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh.

"Keeping this in mind, the polling timing of 7 am to 4 pm has been proposed to the ECI. The ECI is yet to approve the timing, as it is done phase-wise," he said.

Robertsganj (SC) Lok Sabha seat in Sonbhadra will go to polls in the seventh phase on June 1.

Asked about the challenges in implementing 'One Nation, One Election' in a state like Uttar Pradesh, Rinwa said, "There will be no problems if we have the necessary infrastructure, mainly, sufficient number of EVMs."

"We have over 1.62 lakh polling stations... if 'One Nation, One Election' is implemented, a minimum of 3.24 lakh EVMs will be needed, one for LS polls, and one for assembly polls," he added.

The official further said the weather in April and May will be hot, and it might discourage the voters from coming out.

"Keeping this in mind, we have asked our DEOs (district election officers) to ensure clean drinking water at polling stations and shade for the voters standing in queues.

"We have also asked for some furniture for senior citizens, pregnant women and physically challenged voters," Rinwa said.

Rinwa said the people have been advised to use the early morning hours to cast their vote to avoid the afternoon sun.

On steps taken by the ECI to ensure that the polling staff also remains physically and medically fit during the election period, the UP CEO said, "We will provide medical kits to all the polling teams, along with a list of do's and don'ts."

On the challenges faced by the poll body, the official said, "In UP and Bihar, there are a number of voters in the voters' list, who do not exist. This happens as people do not file Form 7 to get their names deleted."

"In the recent special summary revision, we have taken a number of steps to ensure that our voter list is clean," he added.

Form 7 has to be filed in case of the death of a voter, shifting to a different constituency, and duplication of a voter's identity among other reasons.

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Arunav Sinha
Source: PTI© Copyright 2024 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
India Votes 2024

India Votes 2024