Why EC is favouring paper ballot over EVM in crucial Telangana Lok Sabha seat

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Updated: March 29, 2019 12:04:17 PM

Telangana Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Rajat Kumar said there are 185 valid contesting candidates in Nizamabad and the polls will be conducted through paper ballot.

With candidates’ list very long, EC to use ballot papers in Nizamabad instead of EVMs (Representational image)

With 185 candidates, including over 170 farmers in the fray, the Election Commission will use ballot papers instead of EVMs in Nizamabad Lok Sabha constituency in Telangana, from where Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao’s daughter K Kavitha is seeking re-election. This was necessitated as the number of candidates is higher than what the EVMs can accommodate.

The farmers had filed their nominations protesting the alleged failure of the ruling Telangana Rashtra Samithi to ensure minimum support price for turmeric and red jowar (sorghum) produce. They are also demanding setting up of a turmeric board. After the deadline for withdrawal of nominations ended Thursday, a total of 443 candidates remained in the fray with Nizamabad topping the list with 185 candidates, a top state Election Commission official said.

Telangana Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Rajat Kumar said there are 185 valid contesting candidates in Nizamabad and the polls will be conducted through paper ballot. “In Nizamabad we have to go (conduct polls) by ballot paper. This will be also referred to ECI to take approval for what kind of ballot paper we will use. Symbols have to be allotted. ECI will give guidelines for design of ballot paper and we will print it,” Kumar said.

The Election Commission will carry out awareness programmes in this regard, he said. On the ballot papers, candidates of recognised national parties will be on top, followed by state parties and then unrecognised parties and independents, Kumar said. Earlier, Kumar had said that if the number of contestants in a constituency exceeds 64, then the Election Commission would have to go (conduct polls) for paper ballot. Telangana, with 17 Lok Sabha constituencies, goes to the polls in the first phase on April 11.

EC officials said they have started making arrangements for paper ballot in Nizamabad by procuring ballot boxes and print ballot papers. In 1996 ballot papers were used when 480 candidates contested from Nalgonda Lok Sabha seat and similarly, in August 2010, ballot papers were used during Assembly by-elections for a few seats. A total of 648 nominations were filed in the state, of which 145 were rejected and 503 nominations were found to be in order after scrutiny.

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