Friday, December 1, 2023

TS parties question integrity of voters’ list

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PNS | Hyderabad

A high-level team of the Election Commission of India (ECI) headed by Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar is visiting Telangana from Tuesday to assess preparedness for the TS Assembly elections.

During the three-day visit, the team will meet political parties, enforcement agencies and other stakeholders. On the first day of their visit, the ECI team held a meeting with 10 national and state-recognised political parties. Three representatives from each party were invited to the meeting scheduled in the afternoon.

The commission took the opinions and suggestions of the parties regarding the elections.
Official sources said that except the BRS almost all parties raised doubts about the sanctity of the electoral rolls.

The parties asked whether EPIC cards were issued or not. When one Feroz Khan of Nampally raised the issue of one lakh bogus voters, Hyderabad MP Asaduddin Owaisi reportedly challenged the Congress leader to show at least one fake voter. Asaduddin reportedly asked the EC not to go by hearsay.

Likewise, Serilingampally leaders raised allegations of duplicate voters which the EC reportedly pointed out as a generalised charge and not specific. The BRS on the other hand raised concerns about the allocation of symbols. The party reportedly urged the EC not to allocate the road roller, tractor and pressure cooker symbols as they were visually similar to the CAR symbol of the BRS.

The parties said that they did not have faith in the police. They purportedly cited examples of how the agencies couldn’t stop the flow of money during the Munugode by-election. This was followed by a meeting with enforcement agencies to discuss key matters regarding the elections. The meeting will decide on steps to check the flow of money, liquor and other allurements to voters.

Telangana Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Vikas Raj and the nodal officers of the state and Central police forces made presentations before the ECI team about poll preparedness. On Wednesday, the team will flag off a cyclothon and a walkathon as part of its voter awareness campaign. This will be followed by a meeting with district election officers, collectors and SPs to review district-level preparedness.

On October 5, the ECI team will visit the exhibition on Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) activities. The EC team will interact with state icons, Persons with Disabilities (PwD) voters, and young voters to promote awareness about the democratic process.

The ECI team will also hold a meeting with Chief Secretary Santhi Kumari and Director-General of Police (DGP) Anjani Kumar to discuss poll preparedness. The CEC and other commissioners will conclude their visit with a press conference.

A week or 10 days after the visit, the poll panel is likely to announce the TS election schedule.

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