CEC Achal Kumar Joti lauds poll preparedness in Meghalaya

New Delhi: Chief Election Commissioner Achal Kumar Joti on December 23 said the Election Commission was happy with the poll preparedness in Meghalaya where Assembly elections are due next year as he concluded the two-day review of the state election machinery here. He said the review was necessary because the election is a multi-dimensional process and it involves a lot of other departments and affects all citizens and voters.
“We are happy to learn that the preparedness of state was of good nature,” the CEC said. Joti and two Election Commissioners — Sunil Arora and Om Prakash Rawat — concluded their review after meeting chief secretary Y Tsering and Director General of Police S B Singh.
Elections are due in Meghalaya early next year as the tenure of the ninth Assembly ends on March 6. As of December 19, over 18 lakh voters have registered with the Election Commission, the chief election commissioner said, adding that about 50.52 per cent (8.93 lakh) are women voters.
Taking a step further, the Election Commission said that it is also setting up “pink booths” in the state as they did in Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh elections to attract more women participation in the elections process. The “pink booths” will be set up in all the 60 Assembly constituencies and will have an all-women team to conduct the entire election process on polling day and the decision has been taken to empower women and increase their participation, Joti said.
Meanwhile, the EC has also asked the state government to take corrective steps and ensure sufficient electricity supply in all polling stations on election day. Joti said state elections officials have also assured the commission to ensure there is accessibility to persons with disabilities who are coming to the polling stations.
Of the 3,082 polling stations in the 60 constituencies, the chief election commissioner said ramps have been set up in about 72 per cent of the booths, drinking water is available in about 70. He also said toilet facilities are also available in 92 per cent of the booths. On security front, Joti said the EC has asked the Home department and the SPs to monitor inter-state borders and the BSF to monitor the Indo-Bangladesh border to check cross-border smuggling of arms.
The EC is also in touch with the Union Home secretary to ensure adequate deployment of the Central Armed Police Forces. “Home secretary and the DGP have done the exercise of mapping critical areas. I assure CAPFs will be deployed in all sensitive areas where security aspect has to be taken care, adding all critical polling stations will also be covered,” he said.
Of the 60 constituencies, 19 are along the inter-state border with Assam and 11 are along the international border with Bangladesh, Joti said.

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