Anantnag-Rajouri Polls: 18.36 Lakh Voters Set to Vote on May 25


SRINAGAR: The fate of 20 candidates will be decided by over 18.36 lakh voters in the Anantnag-Rajouri Lok Sabha seat in the last phase of Lok Sabha elections for the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir on May 25.

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According to the figures provided by the office of the Chief Electoral Officer, there are 18,36,576 voters enrolled in the five districts of Kulgam, Anantnag, Poonch, Shopian (36-Zainapora), and Rajouri, including 9,33,647 male, 9,02,902 female, and 27 third-gender voters. Around 17,967 persons with disabilities and 540 persons above the age of 100 years will cast their ballots in the PC.

Polling will be held from 7.00 am to 6.00 pm. Before that, there shall be a mock poll in the presence of polling agents. Voting will continue after 6.00 pm if there are voters still in the queue within the Polling Station premises.

The Election Commission of India (ECI) has set up 2,338 polling stations across the Anantnag-Rajouri Parliamentary Constituency. In total, more than 9,000 polling staff, including reserves, will be deployed on duty. There are 19 Border Polling Stations in the districts of Rajouri and Poonch.

Every polling station will be provided with Assured Minimum Facilities (AMF) such as drinking water, electricity, toilets, ramps, furniture, and verandahs/sheds. Wheelchairs shall also be provided. The Ballot Units will include a list of contesting candidates in Braille script. Wherever required, there shall be separate queues for senior citizens and specially-abled persons to facilitate their voting process. Additionally, there shall be a voter help desk, manned by the concerned Booth Level Officer (BLO) to extend necessary help whenever required.

There will be 17 polling booths managed by women (called pink polling stations), 15 polling booths managed by specially-abled persons, and 8 polling booths managed by youths. To promote environmental awareness, there will also be 15 green polling stations.

The purpose of these special polling stations is to spread awareness among specific sections of society, such as women, specially-abled persons, and first-time young voters, and to motivate them to exercise their right to vote.

To facilitate voters and increase turnout, all voters have been provided with voter information slips containing details like Polling Station name, date and time of poll, serial number of the voter in the list, full name, and QR code but not the photograph of the voter. Hence, Voter Information Slips will not be allowed as proof of identity. Acceptable proof of identity includes any of 12 documents, including the EPIC card. The concerned BLO has distributed 100% of the voter information slips.

Citizens can also view details of their Polling Station, Parliamentary Constituency, and get contact details of the Booth Level Officer and Electoral Registration Officer through the Voter Helpline App (VHA), available on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.

The documents acceptable for voter identification, in addition to the Electoral Photo Identity Card (EPIC), include Aadhaar Card, MGNREGA Job Card, passbooks with photographs issued by banks/post offices, Health Insurance Smart Cards issued under the scheme of the Ministry of Labour, Driving Licenses, PAN Cards, Smart Cards issued by RGI under NPR, Indian Passports, pension documents with photographs, Service Identity Cards with photographs issued to employees by Central/State Govt./PSUs/Public Limited Companies, official identity cards issued to MPs/MLAs/MLCs, and Unique Disability ID (UDID) Cards issued by the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Government of India.

All the polling stations in Anantnag-Rajouri will have CCTV cameras for live webcasting to control rooms established at the District and CEO offices. The cameras will be positioned in such a way that they do not violate the secrecy of the vote. For polling stations in communication shadow areas, suitable alternate arrangements such as satellite phones, wireless sets, and special runners have been put in place. Candidates and political parties need to obtain prior permission for campaigning purposes, which can be done online through the Suvidha app and Portal. So far, election officers have granted permission for 1920 applications and rejected 303.

In the entire Union Territory, from the date of the election announcement, material/cash worth around Rs 94.797 crore has been seized, including cash, liquor, drugs, and other freebies. Major department-wise seizures include those by the Police Department (valued at Rs 90.831 crore), Income Tax Department (Rs. 42 lakh), Excise Department (Rs. 1.01 crore), and the Narcotics Control Bureau (drugs worth Rs. 2.32 crore).

Public campaigning in the Anantnag-Rajouri Parliamentary Constituency will conclude at 6.00 PM on May 23, 48 hours before the elections, during the pre-election silence period when all campaign-related activities must be halted. This allows voters a peaceful break from campaign influence to make a considered decision while voting. Political advertisements in print media can only be done after clearance from the Media Certification and Monitoring Committee (MCMC). Sale of liquor, even from licensed shops, is also banned.

To monitor election-related activities and ensure Model Code of Conduct compliance, Command and Control Rooms have been established at the CEO offices in Jammu and Srinagar, with similar mini-control rooms in every DEO office operating 24/7. All electronic media channels and social media platforms are monitored, and any violations detected are reported for action by the concerned RO/ARO. Apart from monitoring MCC violations, the Control Room also receives live feeds from all 100% Polling Stations and tracks GPS vehicles used for poll parties.

As per the latest instructions from the Election Commission of India, special polling stations have been established for migrant voters of Kashmir Division. A total of 26 special polling stations have been set up, with 21 in Jammu, 4 in Delhi, and 1 in Udhampur District. Special Polling Station-wise extract voter lists will be available with BLOs.

“The Election Commission of India is committed to providing basic facilities at all polling stations and giving voters a better experience. Voters are requested to participate in large numbers in the biggest festival of the world’s largest democracy.”—(KNO)


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