Hyderabad: The Election Commission is planning to deploy ‘jumbo ballot boxes’ that were last used in 2010 and 1996 for the upcoming elections to two seats of the Legislative Council as the ballot papers are the size of newspapers.
Chief Electoral Officer Shashank Goel has written to the Election Commission seeking permission to use these ballot boxes and approval is awaited.
A record 93 candidates are in the fray for the Hyderabad-Ranga Reddy-Mahbubnagar graduates constituency election against 57 in 2015, and 71 are in fray for the Warangal-Khammam-Nalgonda graduates constituency.
Besides, voters in any MLC election have to exercise preferential votes, marking their preference of candidates unlike in other elections where they have to choose only one party or candidate. For this reason, EVMs cannot be used in any MLC election.
In 2010, the TRS had fielded over 64 candidates in each of the 10 Assembly seats that went for bypolls following the resignation of party MLAs while demanding statehood. The idea was to force election by ballot papers as an EVM can accommodate only 64 candidates. TRS opted for this strategy after alleging that EVMs were tampered with in 2009 Assembly elections due to which it fared badly.
In the 1996 Lok Sabha polls, 480 candidates were in the fray for Nalgonda LS seat to protest government’s failure in solving fluorosis issue.
After the advent of EVMs in 2004, the EC has done away with using ballot boxes. However, the State Election Commission used ballot boxes for the gram panchayat polls, zilla and mandal parishad polls in 2019 and, citing the Coronavirus, in the GHMC polls of December 2020....