Punjab is all set to witness the most sacred epic battle of democracy tomorrow with Election Commission making all arrangements to ensure free, fair and peaceful elections in the state.Briefing the media Mr. V.K Singh Chief electoral Officer and Mr. V.K Bhawra ADGP Elections informed that total State machinery working round the clock to ensure peaceful ,free and fair elections with over 2.07 lakh employees and 1 lakh Police officials deployed to conduct 'MAHAYAGYA' of democracy. He said that over 1.98 crore electorate would decide the fate of 1145 candidates in 117 constituencies. Mr. Singh said that 14,177 polling stations have been established and 31,460 EVM's are being used in this election. He said that over 6 lakh first time voters would exercise their right of franchise this time and all District Administrations are taking adequate steps to motivate first time voters including honouring them with certificates and mementos. He said that Election commission has identified 786 critical Polling Stations and 23 constituencies have been declared sensitive constituencies as per the reports of the observer. He said that 5573 trouble makers have been identified and 4200 people have been bound down to ensure free and fair elections.
Informing about the major success Mr. Singh said that for the first time 45,000 Police Personnel gave option to exercise postal ballot and till the last poured in, over 21,000 i.e. 45% had already exercised their right of franchise through postal ballot. He said that it is a revolutionary step as last time only negligible Police Personnel could exercise their right of franchise through postal ballot. The CEO said that ECI would make and endeavour to ensure 100% postal ballot in the next election and congratulate District Administrations for achieving this great success.The CEO gave the demonstration of VVPAT system and said that Punjab is proud to initiate this experiment of transparent system of voting in 33 constituencies first time in India and later this experiment would be extended throughout the country after monitoring its success level.Giving the briefing about law and order situation Mr. V.K Bhawra ADGP Election has said that over 1 lakh Police Personnel would be deployed throughout the state and Police parties would conduct thorough search to check the flow of liquor, narcotics and money to ensure free and fair elections. He said that it was due to intensive search that Punjab Police could make record seizure of worth Rs. 80 crores and 416 illegal weapons have also been seized during this period (detailed table in the attachment).The CEO said that all DC's and SSP's were on their toes to check the incidents of distribution of liquor, narcotics and money for inducing the voters and raids would be conducted immediately on receiving information or complaints.He said that this time record 1412 FIR's were registered under
Excise Act and 155 cases worth Rs. 24 crore were refer to Income Tax Department. Liquor worth 8.58 crore, Drugs worth Rs. 17.52 crore, gold worth Rs. 16 crore and cash amounting to Rs. 10.05 crore were seized at different nakas. He said that 40 cases of paid news were detected.Mr. V.K. Singh CEO also said that those who are not having the elector’s photo identity card (EPIC, also called voter ID card) can exercise their franchise using alternative documents including Aadhaar card, passport, driving licence or service ID cards (with photograph) issued by central or state governments or public sector undertakings. The election commission has also allowed bank or post office passbooks with photographs, PAN card, MGNREGA job card, health insurance smart card, pension documents and authenticated voter slips to be used as identity proof.Meanwhile the Facebook in collaboration with the ECI has reminded the 18+ voters (facebook users) that they have to poll the vote on February 4. The reminder links to the Election Commission's website where people can find details on their polling booth and other polling day information. People also have the option to share with their friends that they've voted by clicking on the “Share You Voted” button. By clicking the button people can highlight their status as a voter to their Facebook friends, without specifying who they voted for. Mr. Sibbin C and Mr Manjit Singh Narang (both Additional Chief Electoral Officers) were also present in the press conference.