Punjab polls 2022: Pick-up, drop facility for elderly, people with disability

  • Polling in the state will be held from 8 am till 6 pm
  • Punjab Chief Electoral Officer S Karuna Raju clarifies on guidelines on the eve of state Assembly polls
  • Young people casting their votes for the first time, will be given flowers

Livemint
Updated19 Feb 2022
Polling staff examining EVMs and other voting material at a distribution centre on the eve of Punjab elections in Amritsar on Saturday. (Sameer Sehgal/HT)
Polling staff examining EVMs and other voting material at a distribution centre on the eve of Punjab elections in Amritsar on Saturday. (Sameer Sehgal/HT)(HT_PRINT)

The state of Punjab is slated to go into elections to elect a 117-member state assembly on Sunday 20 February. On the eve of the crucial assembly polls Punjab Chief Electoral Officer S Karuna Raju on Saturday said that pick-up and drop facility will be provided to senior citizens and persons with disabilities to and from polling booths.

Polling in the state will be held from 8 am till 6 pm, as per the election Commission of India (ECI)'s guidelines. Elections will also be held following Covid Appropriate Behavior. Results of the Punjab assembly polls will be declared on March 10, along with those of Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Manipur and Goa.

The Assembly polls in Punjab were earlier slated to be held in a single phase on 14 February. However, the ECI postponed the date in view of rising Covid-19 cases in the state and the date was rescheduled to 20 February. 

Addressing the media in Chandigarh, Raju said the state machinery is working round the clock to ensure peaceful, free and fair elections.

Replying to a question, Raju said pick-up and drop facility to and from polling booths will be provided to senior citizens, elderly and persons with disabilities (PwD) for voting.

Arrangements in this regard has been made in each assembly constituency, he added.

“There can be battery-run vehicles, auto rickshaws and minivans,” Raju said, adding that young people casting their votes for the first time, will be given flowers.

He urged electors to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour at polling stations and added that masks, gloves and sanitisers will be provided.

Dustbins and coloured bags will be placed for disposal of Covid- waste material, the CEO said.

He said that food and refreshments will be provided to all polling staff.

On whether a voter should carry Covid vaccination certificate to a polling station, Raju said, “There should be no confusion. Voting does not have any connection with vaccination.”

A person carrying his voter card has a right to cast his vote, he added.

To a question on deployment of security personnel for the polls, the CEO said that 700 companies of central armed police forces have been deployed.

Besides, the state police personnel will also be in duty, he added.

Out of the total 1,304 candidates in the fray, 93 are women and two transgenders, while 461 are constesting the elections as Independents, Raju said.

As many as 28,328 ballot units and 24,740 EVM-VVPATs are being used in this election, he said.

There are six assembly constituencies -- Kharar, Sahnewal, Ludhiana South, Payal, Patiala Rural and Patiala -- with two ballot units, he added.

There are 24,740 polling stations in the state and out of them, 2,013 have been identified as critical, while as many as 196 will be pink polling stations for women and 70 will be managed by PwDs, Raju said.

He said webcasting of all polling stations will be done.

A total of 2.50 lakh people including polling staff, security men and others, have been deployed for the Sunday polls, he said.

The budget size of the elections was pegged at 340 crore, Raju said.

Ever since the model code of conduct came into force, various enforcement teams have made seizures of liquor, unaccounted cash and psychotropic substances worth 500.70 crore.

In view of the polls, a ban on sale of alcohol in Punjab started at 6 pm on February 18. It will end on February 20 after conclusion of polling.

Raju also said that the ban extends to liquor vends falling in a radius of three kilometres from the Punjab border in neighbouring states of Jammu and Kashmir, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan, and also the Union Territory of Chandigarh. 

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