Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), J&K, Shailendra Kumar today interacted with the representatives of recognized political parties in the State on various issues related to the electoral process, especially on Special Summary Revision and updation of electoral rolls.
The CEO held wide-ranging discussions with the political leaders and also sought their views on the forthcoming elections in the State. He briefed on the preparedness of the authorities for smooth conduct of Parliamentary as well as Assembly Elections.
While seeking cooperation from the Political parties to ensure complete transparency in the electoral process, the CEO urged the leaders to make optimal use of the on-line facilities of various services being offered by the Election Commission of India through online portal NVSP http:/ /www.nvsp.in, which can be accessed at a click of button for enrolment as well as verifying/rectifying particulars of an already enrolled voter. He urged them to educate the people through their workers and Booth Level Agents (BLAs) to enroll new voters, delete the names of dead voters and rectification of wrong entries/particulars.
Sharing the progress on SSR-2019 for which the final publication date was Ist January 2019, Shailendra said that the exercise was launched on Ist of September 2018, but the date was extended by the Election Commission of India for J&K State along with some other States till January 31,2019.
During this period, as many as 307813 additions, 125834 deletions, 94565 corrections and 14989 transpositions were made. The process of addition of any left out eligible electors shall continue as part of continuous updation process till 31st January so that no eligible voter is left out. He requested the political parties to use their good offices and help in facilitating the people in this important exercise.
Briefing about the functioning of EVMs, the CEO informed that to ensure complete transparency in the electoral process, now the Election Commission has added another component called VVPATs which shall be available at each and every polling station to further enhance the confidence of voters. To familiarize the voters and BLAs about the functioning of EVM-VVPAT, a massive awareness programme is being launched soon whereby the election officials will be visiting every nook and corner of the State to educate the masses. Necessary instructions in this behalf have been conveyed to the District Election Officers (Deputy Commissioners), said the CEO.
He further informed that the Election Commission of India has allocated 17,000 additional EVMs with VVPAT facilities to the State for being used in the ensuing elections. He said as and when the machines will reach in different district headquarters, the concerned District Election Officers (Deputy Commissioners) will inform the Political parties and in their presence, the shifting/reallocation of machines would be done as per standard SOP. Such instructions have already been issued to the concerned DEOs.
The CEO urged the political leaders to appoint their BLAs on priority who can help the BLOs in ensuring right particulars of new voters and alterations in the voter lists. He said the District Election authorities will organize training programmes for the political workers, BLAs on use of EVMs and other election-related activities so that they can educate the voters about the same. He also informed that after publication, the new Electoral Rolls will be made available to all the parties for their information and further use.
On the issue of holding of simultaneous polls and readiness of the State Government, the CEO informed that his office has already taken necessary steps for holding the elections, but the decision lies with the Election Commission, who will take a final call at an appropriate time after taking into consideration all the aspects. He said that a team of Election Commission will visit the State soon to have a review of the situation with political leaders and other stakeholders for holding the elections.
The CEO said that he will regularly interact with the representatives of the political parties in his office to take their valuable suggestions on further improving the electoral process to ensure fair and transparent elections in the State. He said the cooperation of all political parties is mandatory for this essential exercise and his office will ensure close coordination to achieve better results.
Almost all the political leaders were unanimous to hold a simultaneous poll in the State and expressed their readiness for the same. They suggested several measures to improve the electoral process to ensure smooth and transparent elections in the State. They asked for setting up of polling stations as per the convenience of people in the central locations and creation of necessary facilities for the voters. They asked for special arrangements for physically challenged, senior citizens and women at the polling stations.
Prominent among those present on the occasion included, Raman Bhalla and Usman Majeed from Indian National Congress, Harshdev Singh from JKNPP, Nizam-ud-Din Bhat from JKPDP, Yudhveer Sethi and Rajinder Sharma from BJP and Sheikh Bashir Ahmed from National Conference.