Voters show their voter ID cards while waiting in a queue to cast votes during the second phase of Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections, at a polling booth, in Moradabad on Monday. (ANI Photo)
New Delhi: The single-phase Assembly elections in Uttarakhand, Goa and phase two of Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls concluded on Monday.
The Election Commission of India expressed gratitude to all stakeholders especially to the voters for their enthusiastic and fearless participation in the election process today. The Commission particularly thanks PwD electors, senior citizens, and service voters for taking part in elections honouring COVID protocol norms.
As per the Election Commission, while Uttarakhand recorded 61.58 per cent voters' turnout in the Assembly elections, Goa achieved 78.94 per cent voters' turnout while Uttar Pradesh recorded 62.99 per cent voters' turnout.
Polling was conducted peacefully in 36,823 polling Stations spread across 165 Assembly Constituencies today, in the states of Uttarakhand, Goa and for the second phase of Uttar Pradesh. The elections were conducted for single phase election in 40 ACs in Goa, 70 ACs in Uttarakhand and for 55 ACs in Uttar Pradesh's second phase of their Assembly Elections.
The Commission has laid great emphasis on ensuring proper arrangements at the polling stations. Voters set an example of COVID appropriate behaviour following due protocols of sanitization and social distancing.
Nearly 2.95 crore General Electors including over 5 lakh first-time electors, spread across 36,823 Polling Stations were registered to exercise their franchise across 165 ACs in the three states. The number of Polling Stations has increased in view of the fact that the number of voters per polling station has been reduced from 1500 to 1250 keeping in view of the social distancing norms.
As part of the Commission's initiative to provide a comfortable experience to women voters, 334 All Women-Managed polling stations were set up across the 165 ACs.
As a major push in conducting free and fair elections, live monitoring and webcasting mechanism for more than 50 per cent of polling stations including critical and vulnerable polling booths was put in place to ensure a safe and secure atmosphere in polling areas. Commission, CEOs, DEOs, Observers could watch live streaming and keep a close watch on these polling booths. Webcasting arrangements were put in place for all 1722 polling stations in Goa, 5828 Polling Stations in Uttarakhand and 11,448 polling stations for the second phase in Uttar Pradesh.
There were a total of 1,519 candidates contesting in this phase across Goa, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh which included 158 women candidates. In this phase, over 2.19 lakh PwD electors and 4.67 lakh 80+ electors were registered to vote across 165 ACs. As an initiative towards inclusive and accessible elections, the option of postal ballot facility has been extended to PwDs, Senior Citizens above the age of 80 years, COVID-19 suspect or affected persons and persons employed in notified essential services. The Observers were specifically asked to oversee arrangements for facilitation of these voters.
All the Polling Stations were directed to follow COVID-19 safety protocols. Accordingly, it was ensured that the Polling Stations were sanitised one day prior to poll, and the facility of thermal scanning, hand sanitisers, face masks were also made available at the Polling Stations. Proper arrangements for social distancing were put in place. Nodal Health Officers have been designated for State, District and Assembly Constituencies to oversee COVID-19 related arrangements and preventive measures during the entire electoral process. The last hour of the polling was reserved for the COVID affected or suspects voters and voting was ensured with all covid appropriate protocols at the polling stations.
All Polling stations have been equipped with Assured Minimum Facilities (AMF) of drinking water, waiting shed, toilet with water facility, adequate arrangements for lighting, ramp of appropriate gradient for wheelchair for PwD electors and a standard voting compartment etc were made available at all the Polling Stations. All arrangements like transport facility, volunteers assisting Persons with Disability and senior citizens have also been put in place. As part of ECIs commitment for accessible elections, Volunteers with Divyang Dolis, NCC Cadets were deputed in Uttarakhand for assisting movement of PwDs and senior citizens to the polling stations.
In Goa, certain polling booths were set up in an eco-friendly manner giving the message of clean and green India.
During this phase, EVMs and VVPATs were used successfully in all 36,823 polling stations. As per standard procedure all these EVMs and VVPATs had already undergone First Level Checking, Randomisation, Commissioning and undergone mock polls during FLC and commissioning in the presence of Political Parties/Candidates agents.
Today before the start of the poll, each of the EVMs and VVPATs again underwent a mock poll in every polling station in the presence of polling agents of the candidates with minimum 50 votes and the results of EVM were matched with the result of VVPAT slips and shown to the polling agents. As part of innovative measures, polling parties in Uttarakhand were equipped with special backpack bags to keep them handsfree and help them trek on treacherous routes in districts like Chamoli.
Since the date of notification of Election till Poll day of second phase, record seizure of Rs. 224.71 crore has already been achieved in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Goa. The seizure figure, which includes seizure of cash, liquor, narcotics, freebies etc upto the poll day is more than the total combined seizure of Rs 203.78 Crore in the entire General Election to Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Goa LA 2017 including all phases. 2400 Flying Squads (FS) and 2654 Static Surveillance Teams (SST) were operationalised to check movement of cash, liquor, drugs and freebies in the three states. (ANI)