Karnataka polls will be IT friendly and modern: Election Commission

Senior Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha with other election officers exit the press conference room after reviewing the poll preparedness for the General Election of Karnataka Legislative Assembly, in Bengaluru | PTI Photo
The assembly polls in Karnataka would be IT "friendly" and modern, an Election Commission team that held discussions with state officials about preparation for the polls said on Wednesday.

The assembly polls are due early this year.

"This time elections will be very, very IT friendly and modern," senior deputy election commissioner Umesh Sinha said.

"We want that no voter should face any difficulty and to do that more than three dozen apps that we have will be used during the preparation of the poll and at time of counting or declaration of results," he said.

He said all citizens, the media and stakeholders can access it.

The team of officials from the Election Commission of India that has been camping in the city since Monday evening has had "detailed" and "comprehensive" review of election preparedness with state machinery and Chief Electoral Officer.

It has also reviewed the preparations by District Election Officers, SPs and other departmental officers, and have had consultations with the political parties to know about their feedback or concerns.

Karnataka Chief Secretary, DGP and other senior officials were part of the review.

Deputy Election Commissioner Sandeep Saxena explained the use of Information Technology for the backroom management of the upcoming polls.

It will be used for redress of grievances and complaints from citizens and stakeholders and single window clearance for campaign-related permissions in a time-bound manner, among others.

"All these will make election process effective, efficient, transparent, free and fair," he added.

Expressing the commission's desire that elections be held in a "free, fair and inclusive" way, Sinha said preparations are on for it and a detailed list of items on which the preparations have to be done has also been finalised.

He said Karnataka has had "high" turnout of voters, about 71 per cent. It should be much higher if each and every voter's name is registered and their names appear on the electoral rolls, he added.

A massive awareness drive will also be launched about Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) and Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT), along with mock trials, he said.

A digital atlas map will be prepared where one can witness the entire electoral map of the state like assembly constituency and polling stations, officials said.

Karnataka has 30 districts and 33 election districts, with 224 assembly constituencies. Out of total assembly constituencies, 36 are reserved for SCs and 15 for STs.

The total number of voters in the state as of now is 49 million, and the number of polling stations is 56,694.

Speaking on the "strict" implementation of the Model Code of Conduct and expenditure monitoring, Sinha said meetings have been held with Income Tax and Excise department and other departments involved in enforcement.

Also, media monitoring committees at the district level will be set up to keep track on paid news cases, Sinha added.

About suggestions from parties on a number of phases in which elections are to be held, Sinha said "some have asked for single, some have asked for double phase, that will depend on the assessment of situation and availability of CRPF and other factors. It's early to comment on that.

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