Photo ID card/ voter's slip a must for voting in Andhra Pradesh: Poll panel

Photo ID card/ voter's slip a must for voting in Andhra Pradesh: Poll panel
Hyderabad:  The Election Commission (EC) would insist on voters compulsorily carrying their photo identity card or the voter's slip henceforth in Andhra Pradesh.

The EC earlier used to allow several other cards like PAN Card as an identity card for the voters to cast their vote. However, now that practice has been stopped as the state has achieved 100 per cent photo identity card distribution, Election Commissioner H S Brahma told reporters in Hyderabad today.

He held a meeting with state Chief Electoral Officer Bhanwar Lal and the officials over the preparations for the bye-elections to one Lok Sabha and 18 assembly constituencies scheduled to be held on June 12.

He said the EC conducted the polls with the Electors Photo Identity Cards (EPICs) earlier in Kerala and Pondicherry and some other states.

Observing that the Commission would take tough action on leaders who seek votes in the name of religion or caste, he said commenting on the religious practices of their rivals would also attract action.

This assumes significance as some TDP and Congress leaders alleged that Kadapa MP Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy hurt the religious sentiments by not signing the declaration meant for non-Hindus, when he visited Tirupati temple.

Regretting that Andhra Pradesh has become infamous for the huge money being used in the elections, Brahma, who is an Andhra Pradesh cadre IAS officer, said anyone can send complaints through SMS about any violation of the model code.

The mobile numbers, to which, the complaints have to be sent are: 8897000401, 8897000402, 8897000403, 8897000404, 8897000405. The identity of the sender will be kept confidential.

Over Rs 14 crore unaccounted cash was seized by police as part of enforcement of Model Code of Conduct since the schedule of bypolls was released last month.

Mr Brahma said he would see the "next generation" Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) being developed by the city-based Electronics Corporation of India Ltd (ECIL), which will have features like a print-out being generated. The EVMs of Bharat Electronics Limited (BEL), another producer of EVMs, would also be looked at.

To a query, he said it cannot be said affirmatively if the new upgraded EVMs can be used for 2014 general elections.

Meanwhile, the Election Commission on Friday issued the notification for the bypolls to the one Lok Sabha seat and 18 assembly constituencies scheduled to be held on June 12.

The last date of filing nominations is May 25 and the counting of votes would be taken up on June 15

Bypolls to 16 out of the 18 assembly segments are necessitated as the sitting Congress MLA switched loyalty to Jagan and voting against the Congress government during a floor test in December last, while another sitting member quit in support of the Kadapa MP.

Actor-turned-politician Chiranjeevi quit as MLA following his election to Rajya Sabha, which caused the by-election. The bypoll is necessitated in the lone Lok Sabha seat of Nellore as the sitting Congress member quit in support of Jagan.

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