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திங்கள், ஏப்ரல் 11, 2011

Not many NRIs keen on casting votes


GEARED UP: Additional Chief Electoral Officer P. Amudha reviewing poll arrangements in Cuddalore.

CUDDALORE: 

        Not many overseas Indians or Non-Resident Indians have evinced interest in casting votes in the April 13 Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu, according to P.Amudha, Additional Chief Electoral Officer.

         She was here to review poll preparedness of the Cuddalore district with officials and police personnel recently. Replying to a question as to the number of overseas Indians opting to vote in the elections, Ms. Amudha said she could not specify the number but could say for sure that there were not many.

Paucity of time

          Asked whether the lukewarm response from them was due to lack of awareness or paucity of time, Ms. Amudha said the time was too short for them to respond, and, maybe next time they would be able to do so. (Citizens of India, who have completed 18 years of age as on January 1, 2011 and who have been staying overseas for reasons such as employment, education or otherwise can register themselves as voters by submitting Form-16A.

          A colour photograph and a copy of the passport duly attested by the competent official in the Indian Mission concerned should be submitted along with the prescribed form either in person or sent by post to the Electoral Registration Officer of the respective place of domicile as stated in the passport. The voter should not be a citizen of any other country and should cast the vote in person in the allotted polling station).

Increasing bandwidth

            When pointed out that the SMS to be sent by the polling officials at regular intervals on the status of polling to the higher authorities could not be conveyed in real time (as experience has shown that there would be a considerable time lag in receiving the message), Ms. Amudha said that this issue was adequately addressed by increasing the bandwidth and server capacity. About the number of polling stations identified as sensitive or critical, she said that the dynamics kept changing; for instance, even the polling stations located in the native places of the candidates were now categorised as sensitive.

“Frivolous candidates”

           To another query regarding “frivolous candidates,” she said that she would not qualify any candidate as such because the Election Commission went by the dictum that every citizen had the freedom to register as a candidate. Till April 3, unaccounted cash of Rs. 28 crore was seized and in the past few days, cash amounting to Rs. 5.3 crore, including Rs. 5.1 crore from Tiruchi and Rs. 20 lakh from Madurai, was seized, she said. She said that all the districts in the State were fully geared up for the polls.

           Collector P. Seetharaman, Superintendent of Police Ashwin Kotnis, election observer D.S. Dhok Rajurkar, police observer Hariram Meena and Additional Collector Veera Raghava Rao participated.

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