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Punjab all set for assembly polls, 2,952 polling stations recognised as vulnerable

Chandigarh, February 19 (News Hunt)- Punjab is all set for polls on Sunday with the Office of Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) making all arrangements to ensure free, fair and peaceful elections in the state. Briefing the media, Chief Electoral Officer S Karuna Raju said the entire state machinery is working round the clock to ensure peaceful, free and fair elections.

He said that as many as 2,14,99,804 electorates, including 1,12,98,081 male, 1,02,00,996 female and 727 transgenders are set to cast their votes. There are 1,304 candidates—1,209 male, 93 women and two transgenders, in fray in 117 constituencies, he added.

He said that of total 1,304 candidates 231 are from national parties, 250 from state parties, 362 from unrecognised parties, while 461 are Independent candidates. He said that as many as 315 contesting candidates have criminal antecedents.

Raju said that 24,689 polling stations and 51 auxiliary polling stations had been established at 14,684 polling station locations of which 2,013 had been identified as critical, while 2,952 were vulnerable.

He said that there would be 1,196 model polling stations, 196 women-managed polling stations and 70 for persons with disabilities. He said that webcasting of all the polling stations is being done.

He said that as many as 28,328 ballot units and 24,740 EVM-VVPATs are being used. There are six Assembly constituencies – Kharar, Sahnewal, Ludhiana South, Payal, Patiala Rural and Patiala with two ballot units, he added.

The CEO said that apart from three special state observers, the Election Commission had appointed 65 general observers, 50 expenditure observers and 29 police observers, who were keeping a close vigil. As many as 2,083 sector officers have been deployed to assist polling parties, he added. He said 17 Assembly constituencies had been identified as expenditure-sensitive. There are 117 dispatch centres and 117 collection centres, while 117 EVM strong rooms had been established at 67 locations, he said.

He said assured minimum facilities (AMF), including potable water, tent and chairs and at least one wheelchair at every polling station would be assured.

Besides, every polling station will have Covid material, including gloves, sanitisers, soaps and masks, while, dustbins and colour bags would be placed for disposal of Covid waste material. He said food and refreshments would be provided to the polling staff.

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