Arrangements complete for MP voting: DEC

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Bhopal, Nov 25 (UNI) Deputy Election Commissioner (DEC) R Balakrishnan today said the arrangements for Thursday's voting across 230 Assembly constituencies in Madhya Pradesh were satisfactory and the Election Commission (EC) took every step to ensure free and fair polling.

Mr Balakrishnan, who undertook extensive tours in various districts along with the state's Chief Electoral Officer J S Mathur over the past three days, told reporters here that the state had a record of peaceful voting but the ECI left no stone unturned to conduct smooth hustings.

As many as 262 companies of security personnel including 150 from outside the state were deployed in the constituencies while additional forces were deployed in naxalism-affected areas and those bordering Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan. ''We are satisfied with the deployment,'' the DEC said.

Regarding any misconduct by the leader of any political party, Mr Balakrishnan warned that any partiality would not be tolerated.

Almost 94 per cent Elector Photo Identity Cards were distributed and for the first time the state was going for polls with such a large number of EPICs.

Without mentioning the number of critical booths, he said all critical booths were identified and security personnel would be stationed accordingly.

Micro-observers, who are being introduced in Madhya Pradesh for the first time, would play a key role and report directly to the ECI. To a question about a complaint of using photographs of government officials in the BJP's manifesto, Mr Balakrishnan said, ''the ECI received a reply from the party and will take the final decision in this regard.'' UNI BDG AC PD RN2244

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