Bengaluru: Karnataka is ready to hold elections to the Legislative Assembly in a single phase and this has been informed to the Election Commission of India (EC) during the visit of the six-member EC panel.
State Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Sanjiv Kumar told reporters in Bengaluru yesterday that the State has adequate number of personnel and poll machinery for conducting polls in one phase. However, he said, “The Election Commission will take a final decision after assessing all poll-related infrastructure in the State. Let us wait for the EC’s announcement.”
He said a single day of voting would deter “bad and rowdy elements”. They will not be able to vote multiple times, impersonate others or intimidate other voters, he said. “This was also an opinion expressed by one of the political parties,” he remarked.
In 2013, the Assembly election was held in a single phase. The decision lies with the Election Commission of India, which will weigh the pros and cons of a single phase as against two phases, he said.
Earlier this week, a six-member team of Central election officials led by Senior Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha visited Bengaluru to review preparedness for the Assembly elections.
They had indicated the election could be held between the last week of April and the first week of May. The two options had their merits and demerits, Kumar said.
“When the elections are held in two phases, bad elements may go from one constituency to another, which has happened before,” he observed. Holding elections in a single phase calls for a large deployment of Police personnel from the Centre and the State, and that poses practical difficulties, he said.
In 2013, the Centre had deployed 44,000 personnel, while more than 80,000 from Karnataka, including Home Guards and forest guards, had performed election duty. “This time around, as a large number of new voters have applied, the number of polling stations will increase. This will require additional deployment of forces,” he said.
Date for enrolling names extended to Jan. 22
The Chief Electoral Officer of Karnataka has extended the date for enrolling names of eligible voters in the electoral rolls for 10 days from Jan. 12 to 22. Now the deadline has been extended for 10 days following the demand by DCs.
The final list of the electoral rolls would be published on Feb. 28. Booth-level officers (four in each booth) would undertake a special drive — door-to-door campaign — from Jan. 12 to 22 to ensure names of eligible voters in the electoral roll.
Currently, there are 4.9 crore voters in Karnataka in the 224 Assembly constituencies. Both online and off-line options are available for enrolment of names. Deputy Commissioners, political parties, and booth-level officers have been told to give wide publicity to ensure names of eligible voters are entered in the electoral roll.