Delhi Police on poll duty, but few vote

May 5th, 2009 - 5:54 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, May 5 (IANS) Very few policemen in Delhi vote during elections as most of them are on polling duty and many shy away from casting their vote via postal ballot due to the complex procedure involved, say officials.
Like the armed and central paramilitary forces, personnel of the 60,000-strong Delhi POlice can cast their vote either by going to polling booths in their constituencies or using postal ballot.

But barely few visit polling stations as most of them are posted on election duty outside their constituencies and have to report to their assigned stations before the voting process begins.

“And there are only a handful of policemen who write to the Election Commission for issuance of postal ballot,” a police official said requesting anonymity.

He said there were genuine reasons behind policemen not casting their votes through postal ballot too.

“Their duties are decided at the last hour so they are not able to ask the Election Commission for postal ballot. Also, to get a postal ballot paper, they have to complete a complex request paper, so everyone gives it a miss,” the officer added.

Said a senior police officer, who has been monitoring election-related activities in the capital: “In the Delhi assembly elections last year, barely a handful of policemen used the postal ballot.”

“They have a perception that since postal ballot is issued in their names, others may use it to know which party and candidate they voted for. It’s a question of maintaining poll secrecy.”

However, officials above the rank of assistant commissioner of police do not face any such difficulties. Police Commissioner Y.S. Dadwal had voted in the last assembly elections.

“He will be voting this time too. And other officers will also vote,” said the officer.

Around 55,000 police personnel, including 11,000 Home Guards, will be deployed across the city that goes to the polls Thursday. Anticipating terrorist threats, the police have deployed Quick Reaction Teams (QRTs) across the capital too.

In Delhi, 11,354 polling booths have been formed, out of which 293 have been classified as sensitive and hyper-sensitive.

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