EC to print record number of ballots for UP polls
The Election Commission (EC) has started printing some 22 crore ballot papers required for the upcoming six-phase Union Parishad elections, which is the largest printing task in the country’s election history. Of the ballot papers, over seven crore papers will be required for chairman election in 4,275 union parishads while some 15 crore more for member posts and reserved seats (for women), said officials at EC Secretariat The six-phase UP election is set to begin on March 22 with balloting in some 740 UPs in the first phase. Unlike the 2011 UP election, the Commission will not be able to print ballot papers against the chairman posts before the list of candidature is finalised as this time the chairman election is being held along party line. The Commission will get only 13-14 days to print a huge ballot papers for the chairman post in each phase of the election after the last date for withdrawal of candidature and it will take 3-4 more days to distribute the ballot papers across the country, said a deputy secretary at the EC Secretariat. The ballot papers for each chairman post will be different as the papers will be inscribed with symbols of political parties and independent candidates of the particular UP, he told UNB. “Printing and distribution of over 700 different types of ballot papers for chairman posts within only 13-14 days is a very difficult task,” he said. The Commission initially started printing some six crore ballot papers last week for member posts and reserved seats, he said. The ballot papers for the chairman and member posts and reserved seats will be of three different colours. White ballot papers will be for chairman posts, while green and pink for member posts and reserved seats respectively. The ballot papers are being printed in five printing presses, including BG Press, Government Printing Press and Security Printing Press, said the EC officials. According to EC statistics, out of the country’s 9.99 crore voters, nearly eight crore are in 4,546 UP areas. Of them, more than 7 crore are expected to exercise their franchise in the election for 4,275 UPs this time. The Commission has already announced schedule for the first two phases of the UP election fixing balloting for some 740 UPs on March 22, while 684 UPs on March 31. For the first phase election, the deadline for the submission of nomination paper is February 22. The nomination papers will be scrutinised on February 23 and 24, and the last date for the withdrawal of candidature is March 2. In the second phase election, the deadline for the submission of nomination paper is March 2, and the nomination papers will be scrutinised on March 5 and 6, and the last date for the withdrawal of candidature is March 13.