Srinagar: State Election Commissioner, Jammu and Kashmir, K.K Sharma, today said that preparation are in advance stage for smooth and hassle-free conduct of 8- Phase DDC elections, ULB and Panchayat by- elections in the Union Territory.
SEC said this while addressing a presser at Srinagar office. He said that all resources have been deployed to ensure safe and secure elections are held in all 10 districts of Kashmir.
SEC said that adequate security arrangements are being put in place and deployment of additional 165 CAPF companies is being ensured for maintaining peaceful law and order situation, area domination, security of candidates and polling booths for incident free polls in Kashmir. He said that keeping the weather conditions into consideration, most of the vulnerable areas have been taken up for polls in phase -I.
SEC said that snow clearance machinery and required manpower has been kept in ready gear in all snow bound areas for hassle- free conduct of elections in these areas. He said that General Observers and Expenditure Observers have been designated for all districts to keep check on the expenditure process by contesting candidates.
Terming DDC polls as historic, SEC said that these elections being held for the first time are important for the development and strengthening of democratic set up in the UT. He said that all DCs and SSPs have been instructed to ensure comfortable campaigning of all candidates besides providing them adequate security arrangements during their visits to their areas.
He said that putting up candidates in cluster accommodations are for their security and safety and that no way means they are being prevented from holding election campaigning. He said SEC believes in providing equal opportunities to every contesting candidate and shall not bar any candidate from going anywhere he wishes to go for campaigning.
Earlier, SEC chaired a meeting with DCs and SSPs of all districts through videoconferencing which was also attended by Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Pandurang K Pole and IGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar.
SEC said that all arrangements are being put in place to ensure conduct of polls in free and fair manner across the UT. Moreover, he said that goal of SEC is to ensure safe elections are held in the UT.
Emphasizing on providing adequate security arrangements to all participating candidates whether party based or as independent including star campaigners, SEC instructed DCs to ensure proper transport arrangements, heating facilities and other related arrangements are made available for polling staff for their comfortable stay and smooth to and fro movement during the election process.
He said that there has been enthusiastic atmosphere prevailing in Kashmir as encouraging nominations particularly youth participants are coming forward to participate in these elections for promotion of democracy. He said the DDC polls which are being held for the first time in the UT are important and shall ensure district level leadership to the people and give boost to the developmental process in all districts.
He said that special arrangements of postal ballots are being made for various categories of people which includes senior citizens, Covid- 19 positive to remain in isolation and others to ensure everyone who can’t turn up to the polling booth is given opportunity to exercise his/ her right to franchise.
SEC took a district wise review about the arrangements being made regarding elections like printing of ballot papers, migrant postal ballots, absentee voters, dispatching of material, finalization of polling staff, setting up of control rooms, media centers, poll day arrangements, communication plan, details of canvassing candidates, uncontested candidates, constituencies and Covid related arrangements.
SEC instructed DCs to ensure people to strictly follow all Covid related SOPs including use of face masks and hand sanitizers while participating in the election process. He also asked them to ensure availability of thermal scanning, face masks and hand sanitizers at all polling booths.