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All-women polling stations likely in Goa Assembly elections

Panaji: The Election Commission of India is contemplating to set up all-women polling stations at some places in Goa during the forthcoming state Assembly polls.

“In all there are 16,042 polling stations. The state government is working towards providing minimum facilities at these polling stations,” Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi told reporters on Thursday at the end of his two-day visit to the state where elections are due early next year.

Zaidi said the ECI is planning a few exclusive all-women polling stations in the state.

“In certain areas we will have polling stations which will be manned exclusively by women. They would be all-women polling stations,” he said.

The commission has also decided to give special thrust to voters with physical disabilities.

“This time there would be special focus in providing accessibility to persons with disabilities. Our machinery has identified voters with disabilities. The facilities like wheel chair would be provided. We will take full care of such people as we want them to be part of the election process,” he said.

The CEC, who held a series of meetings with political party representatives, election officials and other state government officers, said the commission istaking inputs on availability of security forces and other factors.

“We are also taking into consideration climate factors, level of preparedness and others,” he said.

“This time VVPAT (voter-verified paper audit trail) system will be deployed along with EVMs. In all likelihood the entire state will covered by VVPAT. This would be the first time that the entire state would be covered,” Zaidi said.

The ECI hasasked the state Director General of Police to prepare data of non-bailable warrants, arm licences, list of anti-social elements, past election related offences and monitor them on a day-to-day basis.

“In order to provide total transparency, the ECI is committed that there should be no scope for malpractices at polling station level. All polling stations would be covered by webcasting and CCTVs,” he said.

The commission has also taken into account the possibility of distribution of commodities to influence voters during the polls.

“There is a possibility of distribution of commodities like bicycles. We have asked the commercial department to keep a close watch on the traders. In case anyone is seen making bulk order for these commodities, they would be subjected to questioning,” he said.

PTI