EC to focus on Liquor flow, low EPIC coverage in K'taka

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New Delhi, Apr 12 (UNI) The Election Commission today asked observers to keep an eye on the illicit flow of liquor in Karnataka from Goa and take steps to curb its movement, ahead of the Assembly elections in May.

It also said that over 1,000 mobile units will be set up across the state especially in urban areas, to enhance the coverage of election photo identity cards (EPIC).

Speaking to the media after holding a briefing for the Observers, Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami said there have been complaints from political parties that breweries in Goa were working overtime for illegal sale in Karnataka and hence special measures needed to be taken to curb its movement.

On the EPIC issue, he said at present, EPIC coverage in Karnataka stands at 57.72 per cent, and is low in urban areas like Bangalore Municipal, urban and rural and Mysore Corporation area. ''It is just 25 per cent in Bangalore. The mobile units will therefore concentrate in urban lower middle class areas,'' he said.

He said that the Commission will deploy a large number of Micro-Observers, drawn from various government departments, at the polling stations to reduce dependence on central security forces.

About 9000 of them were used in 40,000 polling stations in Gujarat during the December polls, he recalled.

The CEC said this time a new procedure for the postal ballot will be followed to enable officials deployed on election duty to cast their votes on time.

A 4.03 crore electrorate will be eligible to participate in the election to the 224-member Karnataka Assembly, and will be held on May 10, 16 and 22. A total of 39,700 polling booths will be set up, he said.

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