Special arrangements for Uttar Pradesh’s women voters

January 17th, 2012 - 12:37 am ICT by IANS  

Lucknow, Jan 16 (IANS) As nominations opened for 59 assembly constituencies where polling was scheduled in the second of the seven-phased Uttar Pradesh elections Feb 11, the Election Commission Monday ordered special arrangements for women voters.

“With a view to encouraging more and more women to come out to exercise their voting rights, the commission has issued instructions for arranging for a woman polling officer wherever the number of women voters is high. Also in all such places, two women voters would be given a chance after every man,” said additional chief electoral officer Anita Meshram.

“While the presence of women polling officers will encourage women living in ‘purdah’ to vote, more opportunity was being given to women voters because they were also required to look after the routine domestic chores, which consumed a lot of their time,” Meshram said.

Meanwhile, during the course of the crackdown, the poll panel Monday took action in as many as 5,000 cases of violation of the model code of conduct. FIRs were lodged against 201 people in this connection while 12,000 licenced weapons were ordered to be deposited to prevent their misuse during the elections.

The seizure of unaccounted money over the past 20 days, since the elections were announced Dec 25, touched a whopping Rs.28.53 crore while 140,231 litres of liquor was seized during the drive so far.

The cash seizure drive, however, led to loud protests in Varanasi where traders downed their shutters, alleging large scale harassment by local authorities.

“We are being targeted for no reason. We were being threatened, intimidated by officials who were indulging in blatant extortion in the name of seizure of unaccounted money,” said Ajit Bagga of the Varanasi Vyapar Mandal.

He alleged a lot of traders had already suffered on account of this drive when they had nothing whatsoever to do with either any political party or any candidate.

“We are holding meetings with our counterparts all over the state and if this practice is not stopped, we will give a call for a state wide bandh,” he warned.

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