Ahead Of Karnataka Elections, Parties Warned On Poll Code Violation

Karnataka Assembly Election: I-T officials will also be monitoring election expenditure. Five airports across the state will have Air Intelligence Units from the I-T department, and major railway stations will be monitored for cash movement by the Railway Protection Force (RPF)

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Ahead Of Karnataka Elections, Parties Warned On Poll Code Violation

Karnataka Polls: Electronic voting machines (EVMs) will be used in all 58,546 polling stations.


Bengaluru:  As Karnataka goes to polls on May 12, Chief Election Commissioner OP Rawat and his team visited the state to oversee the preparations for the Assembly elections. They met the representatives of political parties who raised concerns ranging from allegedly partisan officials to the complicated procedure to get permission for rallies and loudspeakers.

The Model Code of Conduct is in force in the state and any party found violating the poll code, immediate action will be taken, Mr Rawat warned.

Till Thursday, the officials had already seized over Rs 2 crore in cash, liquor worth Rs 23.76 lakh, drugs and narcotics worth Rs 19.37 lakh, about 2.464 kg of gold and freebies such as laptops and household items worth Rs 3.7 crore.

Clearly, a lot is riding on the Karnataka elections for both the ruling as well as the opposition parties. 

A toll-free number has been started by the Income Tax (I-T) Department along with mobile and land numbers for people to register complaints about dubious spending. I-T officials will also be monitoring election expenditure. Five airports across the state will have Air Intelligence Units from the I-T department, and major railway stations will be monitored for cash movement by the Railway Protection Force (RPF).

There has also been a demand to ensure that TV news channels owned by political parties don't give too much publicity to their own candidates. Concerns were also raised that government-appointed heads of boards and corporations were still using official staff and vehicles in violation of the code of conduct. 

Voter registration camps will be organised at all booths tomorrow.  The number of first-time voters has swelled from 7 lakh to 15 lakh this time, and Mr Rawat appreciated the work done by the state to involve more and more young voters. The commissioner also received suggestions that major shopping malls and places of entertainment should be shut on the voting day to increase voter participation.

He also reiterated that the Commission's view was that a single candidate should not contest more than one seat. The Commission was also examining a suggestion to set up separate booths at housing communities on the outskirts of the cities which had more than 400 flats.

Of the 224 assembly constituencies, 173 are general, 36 reserved for Scheduled Castes and 15 for Scheduled Tribes.

The 496.85 lakh-strong electorate conprises 251.59 lakh male and 244.76 lakh female voters. The numbers are up from 436.85 lakhs in the 2013 elections.

Electronic voting machines (EVMs) will be used in all 58,546 polling stations. And VVPATs, or Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trails, will allow voters to make sure the vote has been registered properly. One polling station in each assembly constituency will be randomly selected to match VVPAT slips with EVM results. And since most voters have never seen VVPATs, there will be awareness programmes carried out to help them.

Votes will be counted on May 5.


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