Snow Not A Problem For Conduct Of Himachal Poll – Election Commission

Shimla: The Election Commission today finalized a contingency plan should inclement weather hinder the conduct of the 19th December poll as 576 polling booths could become snowbound in case there was more snowfall in the week ahead.

Talking to the media chief election commissioner N Gopalaswami said, “A snowfall would not be a serious problem for conduct of a poll.”

The commissioner said that helicopters would be pressed into service for deploying poll staff and election machinery in places where road access may become difficult under bad weather conditions.

The 576 polling booths are spread across six districts that could be partially affected if the cold wave intensifies and there is fresh snowfall.

Gopalaswami said that the contingency plan had been prepared for the 245 polling booths in Shimla district, 123 in Mandi district, 89 is Sirmaur, 83 in Chamba, 28 in Kullu and 8 poll booths in Kangra district that could be affected by bad weather conditions.

For setting up an auxiliary poll station at 9,000 feet altitude in Bara Bangal area of Baijnath constituency, helicopters would be used and boats would be deployed to enfranchise the voters living on an island in Pang Dam reservoir, he said.

The commissioner said that 20 companies of para military forces would be deployed for election purposes.

After holding meetings with political parties, district magistrate, police officials and other election officials the Election Commissioner said that there was no serious complaint and expressed satisfaction with the poll preparedness.

Most complaints registered have been addressed and some are being processed, he said adding that chief minister Virbhadra Singh had paid Rs 8 lakh for the use of government helicopter, which the commission had held as violation of the code of conduct/

However he warned that voters with dual registrations would be allowed to vote at one place only and if any violation is noticed, the persons could be prosecuted. He said a case of fraudulent registration of underage voters was noticed in Jubbal and Kotkhai constituency and the commission would proceed against the persons and officials involved.

Giving a profile of senior voters, the commissioner informed that among the voters there were 8005 people who were in the 90 to 100 years age bracket and there were 838 voters who over 100 years old. Of them, alone in Ghumarwain constituency of Bilaspur there were 249 voters who were in the 90 to 100 years bracket and 30 who were over hundred years old, he said.

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