The preparations for the 10th parliamentary elections is yet to gather pace as the Election Commission (EC) has not been able to pull together the necessary polls materials and set up polling centres across the country.
Though the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and his deputies frequently claim that they are ready to arrange the national election anytime, the EC is unlikely to be able to complete all the necessary preparations for the polls before November next.
Currently, the commission has nearly 2,63,000 translucent ballot boxes, but it needs to procure 40,000 more translucent boxes for the 10th general election due by January 24 next year as the country has got over 1 crore fresh voters after the last parliament election held in 2008.
The EC will collect the translucent ballot boxes, irremovable ink and other polls materials in October.
The EC, according to its plan, will finalise the list of the country’ s polling stations on October 30 subject to disposing of public objections in this regard by October 24.
The commission has drafted a list of 44021 polling stations, which will be published from September 23 to 29 to receive public demand, objection and recommendation by October 6 over the establishment of polling stations for the next general election.
There were 35,263 polling stations and 1, 77,277 polling booths in the 9th general election. Nearly 1,000 fresh polling stations are going to be set up due to the rise in the number of new voters by one crore by the time.
The number of voters was 8,10,87,003 during the 2008 election, which rose to 9,21,98,029 after the inclusion of over 70 lakh fresh voters during the countrywide voter list updating exercise throughout the year in 2012.
However, Election Commissioner Abu Hafiz told UNB claiming that preparations for the election have almost been completed.
“As part of the preparation, we’ve already completed updating the voter lists across the country and redrawn the delimitation of the constituency and sent proposal for reforming electoral laws, including the RPO (the representation of the people order) to the government,” he said.
The printing of the voter lists and making CD of electoral rolls is now under way,” he said, adding that the current task will be completed soon.
EC Hafiz said now the procurement of polls materials is on the track and the arrangement of setting up the polling stations will be completed by October.
The commission will take initiatives to manufacture nearly six lakh seals required for the parliamentary election in the coming month.
Besides, more than six lakh polling officers will have to be appointed and trained up ahead of the elections as well as the code of conduct for the general election needs to be changed to ensure a level-playing field for all the contesting candidates.