Chennai’s RK Nagar by poll: Election Commission set to create national record

Election Commission of India
Sixteen opposition parties have urged the Election Commission (EC) to revert to the paper ballot system in future elections saying tampering allegations have created "trust deficit" on the reliability of the voting machines.

Chennai, March 31: The Election Commission of India is set to create a unique record of sorts with the appointment of five election observers for the April 12th  RK Nagar by poll in Tamil Nadu – the highest in the country’s electoral history.

After a high-level review meeting chaired by Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha on Thursday, the government said such a deployment was “highest” in the country’s “history of elections”.

Following complaints by parties, including the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPIM), of alleged money distribution to the voters, the Election Commission had days ago appointed two Special Observers to monitor expenditure in addition to the three deployed already.

Also, more than a dozen Income Tax officials have been assigned to look into complaints of money distribution, the Greater Chennai Corporation, which is the District Election Office, said in an official release here.

The District Election Office directed deputation of two IAS and IPS officers on night rounds in the constituency, deploying micro-observers in all the 256 polling stations and webcasting in all the booths.

Already, there more than 25 flying squads and static surveillance teams. Voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) will be in place in the constituency alongside Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), the release said. Adequate companies of Central Armed Police Forces personnel are also being deployed, the release added.