Election Commission hints Gujarat Assembly polls may be held in December this year

Ahmedabad: The Election Commission on Monday indicated that Gujarat may go to polls in December as the term of the current legislative assembly is coming to end in the third week of January.

File image of Chief Electin Commissioner AK Joti. Image courtesy: Election Commission websites

File image of Chief Election Commissioner AK Joti. Image courtesy: Election Commission website

Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) AK Joti also said that voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) system will be used in over 50,000 booths in Gujarat. VVPAT was first used in Goa polls earlier this year.

He said that paper slips will be counted at a single booth in each 182 constituencies to tally the number of slips and the votes cast.

For the first time, the poll panel will also introduce all-women polling stations in Gujarat in all assembly segments.

A team of EC officials headed by the CEC was on a visit of Gujarat to assess the poll preparedness.

"Elections will have to be held in December as the term of the current Gujarat Assembly is coming to end in the third week of January next," Joti said in response to a query on media reports and some politicians claiming that polls are going to be held in December.

He refused to divulge whether the polls will be held in a single phase or otherwise, saying the EC will think over the inputs it had gathered during the Gujarat visit.

The team, also comprising election commissioners OP Rawat and Sunil Arora along with 12 other senior officials, had interacted with government and police officials besides the representative of political parties during their two-day visit, which concluded today.

"After Goa, this will be for the first time that we will be conducting entire elections using VVPAT. This is a challenge for us too," Joti said in reply to a question regarding a demand raised by some political parties that at least 10 percent of total VVPAT slips should be counted.

He said according to procedure, the candidates who have some grievances can ask for counting of slips of a particular booth and the poll officials will take a decision on it.

"In Goa, out of total 40 constituencies, only one candidate had asked for counting of slips of seven booths, out of which returning officer had allowed counting of slips of four booths," he said.

The CEC said the poll panel has decided to set up all-women polling stations across all 182 assembly segments.

"I am happy to inform that for the first time the Election Commission has decided to set up at least one all-women polling station in each of 182 assembly constituencies," he said.

Updated Date: Oct 11, 2017 07:10 AM

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