The counting of votes of 27 Zilla Parishad’s (ZPs) and 10 Municipal Corporation's (MCs) will now be held simultaneously on February 17. Earlier the counting of ZP votes was due on February 8 and that of MCs on February 16 respectively. Shiv Sena and BJP had opposed the State Election Commission's (SEC) decision on the grounds that if the ZP results were declared on February 8 the same could act as an influencing factor on the Municipal Corporation elections that follow later.
Satyanarayan stated that considering that the terms of existing ZPs and MCs are due to expire and that there were SSC, HSC exams also due in February-March, the SEC had to advance the poll dates. This gave rise to the problems of availability of the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), that there should not have been more than 15 candidates in the fray in any constituency and hence the SEC had to wait for the last date of withdrawal for the ZP elections.
She added that the Election Commission of India provided 1.30 lakh EVMs of which 3 to 4 per cent defective instruments had to be weeded out. The SEC has 26,000 EVMs of its own. The Electronic Corporation of India Ltd, Hyderabad supplied 24,000 EVMs and hence the SEC is now in a position to hold counting of votes for both the civic bodies simultaneously on February 17.
SEC raps Chief Secretary over extension to BMC MC
The State Election Commission yesterday rapped state Chief Secretary, Ratnakar Gaikwad for failing to take due prior permission from the poll body while granting further three month extension in service to BMC Municipal Commissioner, Subodh Kumar. Speaking to newspersons, election commissioner, Neela Satyanarayan stated that the SEC categorically put it across to the Chief Secretary’s office that prior sanction of the poll body was mandated when it came to deciding about service matters relating to officers engaged in poll duty with the SEC.
She said that the SEC had sent a notice to the Chief Secretary’s office asking it to clarify as to why prior permission was not sought for it. The Chief Secretary in its reply had claimed that the state government had the powers to seek central governments clearance. And went on to add that it did not feel need to seek sanction from the SEC for the same. Satyanarayan stated as per the law any service matter relating to officers on poll duty with the SEC, the government has to seek prior sanction from it. Since this was an irregularity of the government, the CS office was told not to do so in future.
SEC bans Exit Polls for 27 ZPs
The State Election Commission (SEC) yesterday banned Exit Polls, Opinion Polls and Televised Debates for the 27 Zilla Parishad polls due on February 6.
Disclosing this to newspersons, election commissioner, Neela Satyanarayan stated that the decision was necessitated in view of the elections for the 10 Municipal Corporations that are due to be held on February 16. The publication or telecast of the Exit Polls for the ZP polls prior to the MC polls could adversely impact the mindset of the voters. All such surveys, opinion polls could be telecast or published only after February 16.