The Delhi State Election Commission has initiated a series of steps to quickly hold civilian elections as the 250 new municipal wards have been redrawn in the demarcation exercise, officials familiar with the matter said Thursday.
Furthermore, in an order late Thursday night, the polling station released the list of wards that will be reserved for Scheduled Castes (SC) candidates and women.
The commission has appointed registration and return officers and verified the operation of 56,000 EVMs (electronic voting machines). A reservation order is expected soon, officials said.
As many as 42 of the 250 municipal wards are reserved for registered caste candidates, while 50% of the total seats are reserved for women. The announcement of reserved wards will pave the way for pre-election pre-election work as the viable candidates will begin to push for tickets from the three major political parties based on the status of the wards.
“All wards were ranked in descending order of SC population and the topmost wards will be selected for reserved seats. Of the reserved wards, the odd wards can be included for SC women’s reservations,” explains a committee officer. Similarly, to determine the status of the rest of the wards, the remaining 208 wards will be set up and the odd wards are expected to be reserved for women.
The last reservation order was issued on January 25 of this year, using a rotation mechanism. “The wards reserved in the 2017 elections were undone and the next set of wards in the decreasing population order list was included in the January 2022 exercise. But as the wards have been reconstituted, rotation makes no sense. We have to start over,” said an official from the Second Election Commission.
The State Election Commission has also issued a notice for the appointment of Election Registration Officers (EROs) and returning officers for the elections to the 250 municipal divisions. The Election Commission has appointed 68 officials for the departments under the 68 assembly units under the jurisdiction of the MCD.
The order of the State Election Commissioner Vijay Dev on October 19 states that the EROs have been appointed in consultation with the Government of Delhi under the provisions of Section 7B of the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act, 1957, which relates to elections to the civil body.
The DMC Act says that these emergency response officers are tasked with drafting and reviewing roles for each department.
“Most of these officers hold the rank of subdivision magistrate, assistant commissioners, administrative officers and tax officers and additional district magistrates. They will also act as the returning and controlling officials for the onward election process,” an official explained. After the demarcation, each municipality in Delhi is divided into 3 to 6 divisions — 38 municipalities have 3 divisions each, 17 have 4 divisions; 10 have 5 divisions and 3 have 6 divisions.
On Wednesday, the State Election Commission issued orders for the completion of tenders related to all MCD election work before October 21. be implemented soon. It is imperative that all vendors for various works are completed and fully set up to meet the requirement for the smooth running of the elections.”
The committee had previously asked the procurement committee to complete the vendor hiring process by October 10, but there was no further communication or progress on the matter.
The state election commission on Wednesday completed the exercise of re-checking and recertifying the 56,000 EVMs that will be used. The machines were last checked in March earlier this year for the MCD polls to be held in April.
“All EVMs have been verified by Election Commission teams and technical experts from ECIL Electronics Corporation of India Ltd. We have verified that the buttons are functional and that the data is correctly captured in each of these EVMs, which are certified and sealed,”, said an official.