Nanjangud – The ruling Congress and the main opposition party in Karnataka, the BJP, are locked in a survival battle at two Assembly segments – Nanjangud and Gundlupet – for which the voting will be held on Apr. 9 (tomorrow). Over 4 lakh voters will exercise their franchise in both the constituencies from 7 am till 5 pm and counting of votes will be on Apr. 13.
In Nanjangud, former Minister and Dalit strongman V. Sreenivasa Prasad is contesting against Kalale Keshavamurthy of the Congress and in Gundlupet, Geetha Mahadevaprasad of the Congress is pitted against C.S. Niranjan Kumar of the BJP.
The Nanjangud by-election was necessitated as Sreenivasa Prasad resigned as an MLA after being ‘unceremoniously’ dropped by Chief Minister Siddharamaiah from his Cabinet. Prasad later joined BJP. The Gundlupet by-election was necessitated following the sudden demise of Congress MLA and former Minister H.S. Mahadevaprasad who had won the seat five times in a row.
The Mysuru District Administration is fully prepared for the voting, mustering, de-mustering and counting. The entire process will be held amidst tight security and hawk-eye vigil.
Addressing a press conference at JSS First Grade College (where the strong room to store Electronic Voting Machines has been set up) on the Deveerammanahalli Village Road in Nanjangud this morning, Deputy Commissioner D. Randeep who is also the District Election Officer said that polling will be held at 236 booths.
“Among them, 72 booths are hyper-sensitive, 124 are sensitive and 40 are normal booths. Indelible ink will be applied on the left hand forefinger. There will be 236 ballot units, control units and Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) units. There will be 71 additional control units, 118 additional ballot units, 130 VVPAT units to meet emergencies,” he said.
Each booth will have five members including the Presiding Officer and 1,400 staff will be on duty. “170 micro observers have been appointed by the Election Commission who will report any malpractices and 20 hyper-sensitive booths will have live webcast and all the booths will have video recording facilities. Today, the polling offices will leave to the respective booths and reach by evening. Once they assemble the Electronic Voting Machines and the VVPAT units, they will have to report if the machines are working,” he said.
“Tomorrow, before the voting starts, the Polling Officers at all booths have to conduct mock polling of 50 voters to see if the machines are working and VVPATs are recording the votes. The entire process will be videographed to ensure transparency,” DC D. Randeep added.
There are over 2,01,818 voters including 1,01,930 males and 99,888 female voters and voters must carry relevant document to prove their identity.
Speaking about security arrangements, SP Ravi D. Channannavar said that there will be 16 sector Magistrates, 10 flying squads, 1 video surveillance team, 1 video viewing team, 45 mobile Police teams, 15 check posts, 80 Police videographers and 8 body-worn cameras to ensure that the voting process is constantly monitored.
In addition, there will be one SP, one Addl. SP, One Dy.SP, one Reserve Police Inspector, 15 Police Inspectors, 2 Reserve SIs, 56 Police SIs, 167 ASIs, 409 HCs, 423 Constables and 210 Home Guards for security.
MCC Commissioner G. Jagadeesha, who is also the Nanjangud Electoral Officer, was present.