Fresh revision of electoral rolls won’t disturb polls schedule in J&K: CEC

‘There is vacuum that needs to be filled’
*Karnataka elections on May 10

Excelsior Correspondent

JAMMU, Mar 29: Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar today said the fresh revision of electoral rolls in Jammu and Kashmir does not disturb schedule or conduct part of polls and the poll panel is aware that there is a “vacuum” in the Union Territory which needs to be filled.
Kumar said in Jammu and Kashmir, the special summary revision took place taking October 1 as the qualifying date, whereas in the rest of the country, January 1 is the qualifying or cut-off date.
“We went for October 1 as the qualifying date there (J-K) as we wanted to complete the process as fast as possible. This process (fresh special summary revision) is to bring them (J-K) at par as far as the voters’ list is concerned,” he told reporters at a press conference in New Delhi during announcement of schedule for the Karnataka Assembly polls.
Kumar was responding to a question on the fresh special summary revision of electoral rolls in the Union Territory.
“But nonetheless, it does not disturb the scheduled part, the conduct part that depends on various other factors which we will come back to you. We are aware that there is a vacuum that needs to be filled,” the CEC said.
A few days ago, the poll panel had ordered a fresh special summary revision of the electoral rolls in Jammu and Kashmir.
While April 1 has been set as the qualifying date for the summary revision, May 10 is the date for publication of the final electoral rolls.
Following a recent amendment in the election law based on the recommendation of the poll panel, there are four qualifying dates or cut-off dates – January 1, April 1, July 1 and October 1 – to enrol as voters. Earlier, January 1 was the only cut-off date.
Recently, Kumar had said that Assembly polls in J&K will be held keeping in mind various factors, including weather and security concerns. He had noted that the delimitation process in the UT was completed and so was the special summary revision or revision of electoral roll.
The CEC had said Returning Officers and Additional Electoral Registration Officers had also been appointed in the rearranged and new constituencies.
PTI adds: Assembly elections in Karnataka will be held in a single phase on May 10 and the votes counted on May 13, the Election Commission announced today, setting the stage for a key BJP versus Congress electoral fight ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha showdown.
The Janata Dal (Secular) is the third major party in the State, which has a 224-member Assembly. The BJP currently has 119 seats, followed by the Congress with 75. The JD (S) has 28 MLAs, while two seats are vacant.
Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar said the notification for the elections will be issued on April 13 and the last date for filing nomination papers will be April 20.
Kumar said the nomination papers will be scrutinised on April 21 and the last date for withdrawal of nominations is April 24.
He said the elections have been scheduled on a Wednesday, and not on a Monday or Friday, to encourage greater participation of voters.
“People can take a day off and have a long weekend. But by holding the poll on Wednesday, the possibility has been reduced,” he said, adding that the move is part of the EC’s effort to ensure greater participation and curb voters’ apathy in going to the polling stations.
The ruling BJP and the Congress have already launched spirited campaigns for the elections.
The Model Code of Conduct kicked in on Wednesday with the announcement of the election. But strict vigil was ensured even earlier on the Commission’s directions during review meetings with enforcement agencies, he said, adding that more than Rs 80 crore has been seized so far.
Seeking to ensure inclusion and participation in the assembly polls, 100 per cent enrolment of eligible ‘Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups’ (PVTGs) in Karnataka is being ensured, the CEC said.
Forty ‘Ethnic polling stations’ will be set up for PVTGs. Special emphasis is being laid on the participation of the third gender in the election process, he said.
He said some people do not wish to enrol as third gender. But the EC is willing to go the extra mile to register them in the gender they want keeping in mind their sensitivities.
Referring to ‘urban apathy’, Kumar said in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, nine of the top 20 low voter turnout constituencies were urban. This trend was also noticed in recently held Gujarat and Himachal Pradesh elections held in 2022, the CEC noted.
Focussed interventions are being made to create awareness in schools and colleges and voter awareness forums in organisations and RWAs, he said.
For the Assembly elections, 58,282 polling stations will be set up in the State. The average voter per polling station is pegged at 883. Fifty per cent of the polling stations have webcasting facility.
A total of 1,320 polling stations will be managed by women officials.
Among the over 5,24 crore voters, over 5.60 lakh have been identified as persons with disability, the poll panel said.