Electoral Rolls: EC to create post of Booth Level Agents

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New Delhi, Oct 17 (UNI) The Election Commission has decided to create new posts of Booth Level Agents (BLA) for the political parties in the Electoral Roll preparation/revision process with the object of avoiding mud-slinging by political parties that their voters were deleted.

Talking to UNI over phone, the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), West Bengal, Debashis Sen, said this is a very good concept and would avoid confusion in the electorate.

He said these issues were discussed during an hour-long meeting with the Election Commission here yesterday.

As per the EC directive all States would have to start the process of Electoral Roll revision from November 10, 2008 and it should be completed by January one, 2009 so that the revised Electoral rolls could be published by January 10, 2009.

He said these newly-created BLAs belonging to various political parties will jointly sit with the Block level Officers (BLO) of the Election Commission in the preparation of the revised or new electoral rolls. In this regard, two dates have also been finalised- these are November 16 and 23- where both these parties will sit together in the preparation of the revised electoral rolls.

Responding to questions, Mr Sen said West Bengal has 100 per cent completed the Photo Electoral Rolls and so far as Electoral Photo Identity Cards (EPIC) were concerned, it was completed to the extent of 90 per cent.

He said as the State will have to conduct three Parliamentary bylections and 12 Assembly byelections so some problems were coming in the way in the commencement for the revision of electoral rolls and they have conveyed this to the EC. The EC has asked them to submit the alternative proposals in this respect.

During the meeting, he said, the EC has informed them that the Commission has decided to procure 70,000 high-tech Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) for West Bengal for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

The EC has requisitioned the Electronic Corporation of India Ltd (ECIL) in Hyderabad for sending 70,000 EVMs having many additional features for the state for the coming Lok Sabha elections, These new EVMs include real-time watch to ascertain the percentage of polling during a particular timeframe and provision for printout of the results in case of allegations of rigging, Mr Sen added.

These new EVMs would be capable of tracking the abnormal rate of polling also, besides satisfying queries of polling agents of political parties.

"The step to introduce these new EVMs has been taken as part of updating of the polling process," the CEO said.

Mr Sen said the EVMs would ensure free and fair elections and would be acceptable to all political parties.

The EC, he said, would also train election officials and others in the use of the EVMs.

Altogether 70,000 new EVMs would be used to conduct polling in the entire state, which has over 55,000 polling booths.


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