Zoom News : Dec 30, 2021, 02:42 PM
NEW DELHI: Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sushil Chandra on Thursday said that political parties in Uttar Pradesh met the poll panel and urged that assembly elections should be held on time.Addressing the media after a three-day visit to poll-bound Uttar Pradesh for a review of the preparedness, Chandra said that there will be no delay in the upcoming polls.“Representatives of all political parties met us and told us that elections should be conducted on time following all Covid-19 protocols,” CEC Chandra said at the press conference."In view of the increase in number of voters and also the prevailing pandemic condition, we have decided to set up 11,000 more polling booth to ensure that there is no crowding. With this, there will also be an increase in the number of polling personnel. We are also increasing the polling time by one hour across the state to prevent crowding at polling stations," he said.Elections are due for legislative assemblies of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur next year.The CEC added that the final list of voters will be released on January 5, and voting will be held from 8am to 6pm on the date of polling. The voting period in the UP polls will be extended by an hour to ensure social distancing for Covid-19.The number of voters per polling booth has been reduced to 1,250 instead of the earlier 1,500 to ensure social distancing.“VVPATs will be installed at all voting booths. Live webcasting facilities will be available at around 1 lakh voting booths to ensure transparency in election process,” said Chandra.The poll panel is expected to announce the schedule of next year’s elections in first week of January.“People above 80 years of age, persons with disabilities, and Covid-affected people who are unable to come to the polling booth, the Election Commission will reach their doorsteps,” said the CEC.CEC further said that as a result of awareness campaigns, nearly 28.86 lakh new women voters had been enrolled, which is five lakh more than the men."The gender ratio of women voters has also increased from 839 in 2017 to 868 in 2021," he added."We have asked concerned officials to inspect the arrangements and ensure facilities for water, toilets, sitting arrangement, ramps and wheel chairs are available for voters."He noted that all personnel on elction duty would be fully vaccinated, while thermal scanners, masks, sanitizers would be available at polling stations."We have spoken to officials and asked them to step up vaccination so that the eligible population gets vaccinated by the time elections are held," he said.The Election Commission will also set up 10 model booths in every Assembly segment this time.On Monday, the ECI had held a meeting with the senior health ministry officers in Delhi over the increase in the number of Omicron cases.