Chennai: Owing to ensure physical distancing and Covid-19 safety norms there would be 25,000 additional polling booths in Tamil Nadu and the voting time will be extended by an hour. This means that the total voting booths would go up from over 68,000 to 93,000. The announcement to this effect was made by Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora, during his two-day visit, along with a team of election officials to review poll preparedness in the state.
He emphasized that efforts would be taken to ensure inducement-free and Covid-19-safe elections. The parliamentary by-poll to Kanyakumari constituency is also to be held along with the Assembly elections to 234 seats.
Regarding requests to hold the election in the last week of April, the CEC said that many political parties had asked for the same due to exams, intense summer and festivals among others. The CEC added that all sensitivities would be taken into consideration before announcing the election dates.
When asked about the effectiveness of the election commission’s actions against malpractices, the CEC replied that it was on display when the Vellore lok sabha poll was rescinded and the R K Nagar by poll was rescinded twice.
It was also added that the two special expenditure observers and district level observers would be deputed for Tamil Nadu.
However, the CEC also expressed unhappiness over the functioning of the state excise department which had not adequately cracked down on malpractices and only caught the small culprits, while the big fish were spared. He said that a report on this was sought from the Additional Chief Secretary, Home who also looks after finance dept.
The CEC added that he had met and discussed with several officials regarding the smooth conduct of polls in the Southern state.