Election Commission reviews poll preparedness with state officials

February 4th, 2009 - 11:44 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Feb 4 (IANS) The Election Commission Wednesday directed the chief electoral officers (CEOs) of all states and union territories to enlist the support of booth level agents (BLAs) of the political parties for updating electoral rolls ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.In a meeting called to review the preparedness for the forthcoming elections, the central poll panel asked the state CEOs to prepare and distribute electoral photo identity cards (EPIC) at the earliest.

“Towards this, attention was drawn to the recent initiative of the Election Commission to enlist the support of BLAs of the political parties for updating the electoral rolls,” the commission said in a statement.

“While in many areas the political parties have been able to appoint their BLAs, there were still some states where few political parties have not been able to set up their BLAs,” it said.

The commission asked the CEOs to request political parties to appoint their BLAs latest by Feb 16.

The CEOs have been asked “to continue to use the institution of BLAs in roll updation work even after final publication during continuous revision of rolls on a regular basis. ”

“The CEOs have been directed to organise a meeting of BLOs and BLAs at polling station level Feb 22-23 to check and point out any inaccuracy in the rolls. Such meetings can be held on a continuous basis for the improvement in the rolls,” the statement said.

The Election Commission, which reviewed the current status of the electoral rolls, said all states and union territories now have photo-electoral rolls except three states - Assam, Nagaland and Jammu and Kashmir.

It also reviewed the advance measures for conduct of the Lok Sabha elections and simultaneous assembly elections in Orissa, Andhra Pradesh and Sikkim.

“The availability of EVMs (electronic voting machines) and other election material was reviewed. CEOs were directed to get the EVMs tested by the manufacturers - ECIL and BEL - and to take up an intensive programme of EVM awareness among the voters extensively.”

The Election Commission also reviewed other aspects of election management like availability of polling personnel, their training, observer management and continuing arrangements.

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