Assembly polls 2018 to see disabled-friendly booths, app to file complaints

Chief Election Commissioner O P Rawat

The coming Assembly elections in four states will witness a disabled-friendly set-up at polling stations and use of a mobile application to report electoral malpractises, Chief Election Commissioner O P Rawat today said.

Speaking to reporters at the end of his two-day visit here for reviewing poll preparations, he said 'accessibility observers' would help differently-abled voters during elections in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Mizoram.

"For the first time, accessibility observers are going to assist physically disabled persons exercise the franchise," Rawat said.

The Election Commission has laid a special emphasis on making the poll process accessible for all sections, especially the persons with disabilities, those who are aged or infirm, he said.

"All polling premises will have sturdy ramps (which wheelchair-bound voters can use). A database of disabled voters is being created and such electors would be enrolled and their list shall be provided to booth-level officers so that they can be given special assistance," Rawat said.

Citizen Vigilance App, introduced in Bengaluru on a pilot basis, will be operationalised for coming polls to ensure free and fair election, said the CEC, accompanied by Election Commissioners Sunil Arora and Ashok Lavasa.

Anybody can report a violation of model code of conduct or a corrupt electoral practise by a candidate by uploading a video clip of the act through the mobile app, he said.

Complaints received through the app will be attended promptly, the CEC added.

"A political party has complained to us that polling booths in the areas in North Madhya Pradesh, where weaker sections of society live, have been shifted to places where men with money and muscle hold sway," he informed.

"We have directed the concerned officers to look into it seriously," Rawat added.

Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) are being manufactured in India and not being imported from China and Japan, contrary to some rumours, the CEC said.

"Our EVMs come from Bharat Electronics Limited and Electronics Corporation of India Limited," he said, adding that entire manufacturing process is video-graphed, and no outsider can intrude into these facilities run by Public Sector Units.