special polling booths for kashmiri pandit migrants

NEW DELHI : As part of efforts to ensure greater participation in Jammu and Kashmir polls, the Election Commission is setting up special polling stations in Jammu, Udhampur and Delhi for Kashmiri migrants to cast their ballot.

The EC is setting up nine special polling stations in Jammu, one in Udhampur and four in Delhi where sizeable number of Kashmiri migrants live.

In a communication to the chief electoral officer of the state, the EC said that the poll officials in the 46 assembly constituencies in the Kashmir valley would cull from list of voters who opt for voting in person at these special polling stations.

The EC also asked the Union Home Ministry to run a publicity drive about the special arrangement in the next few days.

Besides, the Commission said those who are at present residing outside their place of ordinary residence and elsewhere other than Jammu, Udhampur and Delhi would have the opportunity to exercise their franchise through postal ballot papers.

In this regard, the EC asked the postal department to gear up for the postal ballot scheme so that the purpose was achieved.

The success of the scheme is crucially dependent on the speed of clearance and delivery of the request of the migrant electors, dispatched postal ballot papers reaching the electors before the stipulated date and again the duly filled in ballot papers reaching the concerned Returning Officers of the valley well in time before the commencement of the counting, it said.

The EC asked the postal department to direct Post Master Generals across the country especially in Delhi, Chandigarh, Bangalore and Jammu, where there are large concentration of migrant voters, to take special measures in this regard.

The Commission said it would not be possible to provide polling stations for those Kashmiri migrants living in other parts of the country and they would have the option to vote through postal ballot system.

The state would go for a seven-phased assembly polls on November 17, 23, 30, December 7, 13, 17 and 24. (PTI)

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