TODAY -

IDPs to cast votes in relief camps
Source: Chronicle News Service

Imphal, March 02 2024: Special polling stations will be set up at relief camps to facilitate people displaced by the ethnic strife cast their votes in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, an official statement said.

While informing that the Election Commission of India (ECI) has issued directives and schemes in this regard, Manipur chief electoral officer said on Friday in a notification that a large number of electors registered in several parts of the state were displaced from their native places during the conflict that started on May 3, 2023."Presently, they are residing in relief camps in various districts.

The displaced electors are still enrolled at the places where they were residents before the conflict started," it pointed out.

"The ECI, after due consultation with the central and state governments, has directed that all such displaced people who had to leave their native places during the conflict shall continue to be borne on the electoral rolls of the assembly and parliamentary constituencies concerned in the state," the statement said.

"As per past precedent of similar nature, the internally displaced electors shall be provided with the facility to vote at special polling stations to be set up in relief camps, " it added.

Voting in these special polling stations "shall be conducted using separate EVMs for each parliamentary constituency," the statement said, adding that all rules and directions applicable for the conduct of polls at the original polling stations will apply at these special polling stations as well.

An additional deputy commissioner or an officer of equivalent rank or SDO (of the district in which the specified voters are staying) may be designated as Assistant Returning Officer (ARO) for each district, as the case may be, exclusively for specified voters," it said, while adding that the Commission has approved appointment of designated officer for each district.

At present there are ten districts having relief camps where possible 'specified voters' are residing including Imphal West, Imphal East, Bishnupur, Thoubal, Kakching, Churachandpur, Kangpokpi, Tengnoupal, Jiribam and Ukhrul.

It also stated that in order to identify the 'specified voters', the eligible voters staying in the relief camps or otherwise staying with friends or relatives be given option to elicit the choice of 'special polling station' where they would like to cast their vote.

It may suffice, if the head of the family or any senior member of the family gives intimation of all the family members.

Counting of votes polled at the special polling stations will be conducted by designated assistant returning officers (AROs) at the specified counting centres specially set up for this purpose with the prior approval of the Commission.

The maximum number of voters at each special polling station would be 1200.If, at any polling station, the number of voters exceeds 1200, then more than one booth may be provided at the same special polling station location with equitable distribution of electors for convenience, according to the scheme.

It said that special polling stations shall be notified for a cluster of relief camps with a specific special polling station earmarked for a group of relief camps.

The poll in the special polling stations shall be conducted by using separate EVMs for each parliamentary constituency (and separate EVMs for each assembly constituency in case of State Legislative Assembly election), and all rules and instructions applicable to the conduct of poll at the original polling stations will apply at these special polling stations also, the statement added.

The state government is currently operating around 320 relief camps with more than 59,000 men, women and children staying in them.

(With inputs from PTI) .


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