Gujarat Assembly Polls In Two Phases, 9th and 14th December, Counting on 18th
New Delhi : The much-awaited dates of the Gujarat Assembly Elections has been declared by the Election Commission today. The polls will be conducted in two phases on 9th and 14th December, and the results will be declared on 18th December along with the Himachal Pradesh polls results.
Out of 182 seats in Gujarat, first phase will see voting on 89 seats and second phase on 93 seats on 9th December and 14th December respectively.
Answering the allegations on delaying the dates in the favour of a particular political party, Chief Election Commissioner Achal Kumar Joti said that there is a certain set of procedures which are followed by the Election Commission. “Many factors are considered in declaring the dates of an assembly election. In Gujarat, we had to consider the factor of rain the state.” In an interview to a TV news channel, also said, “the Gujarat announcement was delayed to allow the state government time to wrap up relief and rehabilitation works to help flood victims. We realised that nearly 26,000 staff would be deployed for elections and flood relief work would get delayed.”
VVPAT To Be Used In Gujarat Elections
Gujarat Polls will be equipped with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trial (VVPAT). In the wake all the allegations, comes the concept of Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trial (VVPAT). VVPAT works like a printer. Inside the polling booth, there is a Balloting Unit. With this unit is attached the VVPAT. When a voter casts his vote in the favour of a candidate ‘X’, the VVPAT will generate a ballot slip with the candidate’s name X, party symbol of X and serial number X in a sequence. It will be displayed on a screened window for seven seconds. The slip will automatically cut and drop in a sealed drop box. The voters would not receive that receipt as it will harm the secrecy of votes which might be a threat.
VVPAT was first used in ‘Noksen Assembly Constituency’ in Nagaland in 2013. In the Subramanian Swamy vs Election Commission of India in 2013, Swami failed to prove the machines could be tampered with. In the response to his petition, the Apex Court directed the EC to equip these machines to VVPAT systems.
One important thing which must be discussed is the use of ‘Totalizers’. The ‘Totalizers’ are interface which are connected to multiple VVPAT systems to count results without disclosing the booth-wise counting results. As it dangerous to announce votes booth-wise, why not to use ‘Totalizers’? The former Election Commissioner of India Shahabuddin Yaqoob Quraishi said, “we asked for the opinions of political parties on using ‘Totalizers’ in counting but they denied as they wanted to know booth-wise results for booth management for the next elections. So don’t blame EC.”