AP Polls: 10 lakh first-time voters to cast ballots; Rs 269.28 crores worth items seized so far

Mukesh Kumar Meena said that the polling would be conducted in 46,389 polling stations across 175 Assembly constituencies on May 13

By Sistla Dakshina Murthy  Published on  11 May 2024 2:59 PM GMT
AP Polls: 10 lakh first-time voters to cast ballots; Rs 269.28 crores worth items seized so far

Amaravati: Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Mukesh Kumar Meena said that over 10 lakh first-time voters would cast their vote for the AP State Assembly and Parliament elections on May 13.

Speaking to the media at the Secretariat in Velagapudi on Saturday, Mukesh Kumar Meena said that a section of students from SRM University, Amaravati met him and requested the Election Commission of India (ECI) to direct all the educational institutions across the state not to conduct any examinations on Monday. Considering their plea, instructions were given to all the educational institutions not to conduct any examination between May 12 and 14 to ensure smooth conduct of the polling, he said.

Informing the poll preparedness measures, the CEO said that the polling would be conducted in 46,389 polling stations. Of the total, the webcasting (live streaming of voting for officials) would be conducted in 34,651 polling stations, nearly 74 per cent of the polling stations.

Polling period on May 13

On May 13 polling would be conducted between 7 am and 6 pm in 169 Assembly constituencies out of the total 175. For six constituencies under the Araku Parliament seat such as Palkonda, Kurupam and Salur, the polling would be conducted between 7 am to 5 pm.

In Araku Valley, Paderu and Rampachodavaram, the polling would be conducted between 7 am to 4 pm, he said and added that all types of election campaigns either physically on televisions, radios or on social media platforms should be stopped after the completion of the poll campaign by the candidates on Saturday.

Meena said that party office bearers could stay at their headquarters after obtaining permission from the ECI. Apart from that party workers should not stay at the respective party offices.

“In temple towns and tourist spots, we have advised the returning officers and police to be more careful while carrying out checks because people from other states throng the places. For instance, in Tirupati, there are complaints of bogus votes. The police and returning officers have been asked not to disturb the devotees who visit Tirupati for darshan of the Lord Sri Venkateswara Swamy,” he said.

Election procedure

On publicity by the political parties and candidates, the CEO said that print media could carry out the election publicity on Sunday and Monday after availing the pre-certification from the CEO and DEO offices respectively.

All polling party persons would reach their distribution centres across the state on Sunday morning. Mock polling would begin at 5 am at every polling station on Monday. Referring to the deployment of polling agents, he said that polling agents should not be government employees, ministers or Zilla Parishad chairpersons. Anyone who is a voter in the respective Assembly constituency could be a polling agent.

Within 200 metres of the polling station no campaign should be carried out by the candidates and the political parties, he said. Beyond a 200-metre radius from the polling station a candidate or political party can distribute slips without any banner. The voter slip should not have the candidate or the party’s name, he added.

Movement of people

“The intention of the ECI is not to stop the entire movement of people. Buses, mini buses and private buses can ply. Private cars and taxis could ply on the polling day; no curfew would be imposed on them. The only exception is that political parties or candidates should not deploy special buses or vehicles to transport the voters to the respective polling stations from their houses. Under Section 171, it is a crime. Restrictions would be imposed on contesting candidates. Three passes would be given to candidates, election agents and party workers. Similar is the case for the candidates contesting the Parliamentary constituency area,” Meena said.

Seizures and police preparedness

The CEO further said that a total of Rs 269.28 crores was seized by the enforcement agencies in the state after the implementation of the Model Code of Conduct (MCC).

Of the total, Rs 71 crores were cash, Rs 35 crores worth liquor and Rs 37 crores worth precious metals, he said.

Explaining the police preparedness, Meena said that a total of 1.06 lakh police personnel would be deployed on the poll duties, of which 45,000 persons would be state police, civil, armed reserved personnel and home guards. In all, 90 per cent of police personnel are being used for poll duties and the remaining for other duties, he added.

Meena said that apart from the state police personnel, as many as 3,500 police personnel have been deployed from Karnataka, 4,500 from Tamil Nadu and 1,600 home guards from other states.

Around 295 companies from the Central Forces would also be deployed on poll duties to ensure the completion of polling fairly and transparently. Apart from the police and Central Forces around 18,000 NSS, NCC, ex-servicemen and retired police would also be deployed, he said.

Referring to the postal ballot voters, the CEO said that a total of 4,44,281 persons cast their votes through the postal ballot facility. Among them, 27,100 persons cast their votes under essential services, 13,000 persons are above 85 years of age and 12,000 are PwD voters.

Regarding opinion polls, Meena said that opinion polls cannot be done on the polling day. When it comes to the exit polls, they should not be released until June 1 and the concerned agencies should not publish the results and discuss them on any forum, he added.

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