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Special EC watch over Amritsar West
Aditi Tandon
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, February 12
Amritsar West will go to polls tomorrow under “extra and special” watch of the Election Commission of India. Taking cognizance of a Tribune report about dead persons making it to the voters’ list, and this segment’s voter ID card percentage being the lowest in Punjab, the commission has ordered emergency steps to “guard against attempts at bogus voting in the constituency tomorrow”. It has also ordered an inquiry into the lapse.

A detailed communication in this regard was sent yesterday by the Deputy Election Commissioner of India, Mr Rajashri Bhattacharya. He has directed the Deputy commissioner of Amritsar, Mr Kirandeep Bhullar, to make ``foolproof’’ arrangements for the polls.

Following the letter from EC, state election authorities conducted a ground check in the segment and detected more than 6,030 bogus votes.

The Chief Electoral Officer, Punjab, Mr Sundaram Krishna, today confirmed to The Tribune that he had received strict instructions from the Election Commission to conduct poll station-wise analysis of untraceable voters in the area. The commission has also ordered special watch to be kept on booths where bogus voters have been listed. More than 73 such booths have been categorised.

“Our foremost concern is to forestall the possibility of impersonation of voters in Amritsar West. Following your report, we have identified 73 polling booths where names of dead have been listed. In each of these, presiding officers will have two lists – the electoral roll and the special list with names of those dead. They have been told to watch out for those trying to cast bogus votes,” said the CEO.

Besides, Amritsar West is the only constituency in Punjab where two extra polling officers (besides the normal contingent of five) will be deployed at each of the sensitive 73 booths, where videography has also been ordered. The enquiry has further revealed that at 63 of the sensitive booths, EPIC percentage is less than 74 per cent. Out of these, 30 booths are such where EPIC percentage is lower than 70. Overall, this segment has a voter ID card percentage of 76.95 as against Punjab’s average of 95 per cent.

“Once the polls are over, we will conduct a detailed enquiry to find out how such serious lapses were allowed to happen. We will also investigate the role of previous RO who should have deleted fake votes from the rolls,” Mr Krishna said.

Meanwhile, special teams have also been constituted to monitor Amritsar West tomorrow and supervisors have been told to carry video cameras and film the process where ever necessary. The Special Observer, Jalandhar Division, Ms Anuradha Gupta, said she is taking ``extra care’’ of the segment. 

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