All arrangements will be made for ‘free and fair’ polls; Karnataka Chief Electoral Officer

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Bengaluru: All arrangements would be made and action taken to ensure “free and fair” assembly polls in Karnataka on May 12, state electoral authorities said, as the Election Commission announced the polling dates Tuesday. “We have already taken all necessary precautions.. strict instructions have been given, everybody should participate in the election process impartially without being affected by any kind of allurements,” Chief Electoral Officer Sanjiv Kumar told reporters here.
“All arrangements will be done and action will be taken so that the elections will be free and fair,” he said. The Election Commission of India today announced a single phase election to the 224-member Karnataka Legislative Assembly on May 12. Counting of votes would be taken up on May 15.
Officials said awareness about the importance of electoral participation was being created among voters through Systematic Voter Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) and it is expected that the voting would cross 75 per cent. “After awareness and other campaigns, already we have expectations that compared to voters’ turnout in the last elections, it may increase. We are working towards achieving about 75 per cent voter turnout,” Kumar said.
The voting percentage during the 2013 assembly election was 71.45. Stating that total electors, including service electors in Karnataka as per the 2018 final rolls is 4,96,82,351 as compared to 4,36,85,739 in 2013, the CEO said, “there is a nine per cent increase in the total voters.”
The male voters are 2,52,05,820 in 2018 as compared to 2,23,15,727 in 2018. The female voters are 2,44,71,979 in 2018 compared to 2,13,67,912 in 2013. The transgender voters are 4,552 in 2018 as compared 2,100 in 2013, he added. There are 15,42,000 young voters in the age group of 18-19 in 2018 as compared to 7,18,000 in 2013.
The young voters ratio has increased from 1.16 per cent to 2.20 per cent and the gender ratio from 958 to 972 in the same period; while Elector Population (EP) Ratio remained the same, officials said.
Noting that due to increase in the voters, the number of polling stations has also increased from 52,034 to 56,696 from 2013 to 2018, Kumar said an additional 1,850 auxiliary polling stations are being set up. There are 56,696 BLOs (Booth Level Officer) in place, one for each polling station.
Electronic Voting Machines along with Voter-Verified Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines will be used for the Karnataka assembly elections, officials said. A total of 76,110 VVPAT machines, 87,819 Ballot Units and 73,185 Control Units would be used.
A total of 3,56,552 polling personnel are required for the 2018 Karnataka assembly elections, Kumar said. For enforcement of the Model Code of Conduct that has come into force, there would be 1,361 MCC teams, 1,503 Static Surveillance teams, 1542 Flying squads and 1097 Check posts, he said.
On maintenance of law and order, he said police have been directed to execute all pending 42,815 Non Bailable Warrants immediately. Instructions have been given on seizure of illegal arms, preventive action and illicit liquor, among others, he said.

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