Election Commission satisfied with West Bengal poll preparations

July 7th, 2010 - 8:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Kolkata, July 7 (IANS) Expressing satisfaction with poll preparations in West Bengal, the Election Commission Wednesday said the state ranked amongst the top five in the country in distributing Electoral Photo Identity Cards (EPICs) among the voters.
Election Commissioner S.Y. Qureshi, on a two-day stock-taking visit to the state along with fellow Election Commissioner V.S. Sampath, told reporters: “Around 97 percent of voters in the state have been distributed the EPIC. The state ranks among the top five states in terms of distributing EPICs to voters. It is an achievement.”

The duo reviewed the state’s electoral roll revision, maintenance of electronic voting machines (EVMs) and issues like surrogate publicity by politicians in a meeting with the state’s electoral officers.

Assembly polls in West Bengal are slated for next year.

The election commissioners held video conferences with the district magistrates and met the state chief electoral officer, chief secretary, home secretary and state police chief at a city hotel Wednesday.

“We are going back with great satisfaction. We told the officials that the situation is very, very satisfactory,” Qureshi told mediapersons after the meeting.

Qureshi said the Election Commission wanted 100 percent EPIC distribution among voters before the assembly polls.

“Around 97 percent of the voters in the state have been distributed the EPIC. The state ranks among the top five states in terms of distributing EPIC to voters. It is an achievement,” said Qureshi.

“But it is a dynamic process. Hundred percent is not possible.”

The electoral roll revision in the state gets underway July 9.

During the review meetings, he said, vacant posts of returning officers and assistant returning officers were identified and Chief Secretary Ardhendu Sen told to fill them up expeditiously.

“We will carry out the next review in about three months,” he said.

“We will also be sending electoral roll observers also. We will ensure all promises made to us are implemented.”

According to Qureshi, earlier West Bengal had only 51 percent of the population in electoral rolls, “which was far below the national average of 61 percent of 18 year and plus old population” but now the figure is around 60 percent.

“Three to four years back, we found the figure of 51 percent. We addressed the issue by discussing the matter district to district. Now it is 60 percent.”

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