Addressing a media conference here on Tuesday, Chief Electoral Officer Bhanwar Lal said that all arrangements have been made for the polling in 119 Assembly and 17 Lok Sabha constituencies. There are 265 candidates in the fray for Parliamentary constituencies and 1,669 candidates for the Assembly constituencies. Amberpet Assembly constituency accounts for the highest number (32) of contesting candidates in the first phase, he said. The polling will commence at 7 a.m. and continue till 6 p.m. in 109 Assembly constituencies. In 10 Left wing extremist-affected constituencies, it will be held from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. in Bhupalapalle, Mulug (ST) and Bhadrachalam (ST) Assembly constituencies. In Sirpur, Chennur, Asifabad, Khanapur, Manthani, Achampet and Kollapur constituencies, polling will be conducted from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
If voters reach the polling station by 6 p.m. and stand in the queue, they would be allowed to vote till midnight, he added. Those who want to exercise their franchise could carry photo voter slips distributed to them or carry any one of the identity proof documents to the polling station.
Explaining on the poll arrangements, Mr. Bhanwar Lal said that over one lakh EVMs have been provided in the first phase with four EVMs in reserve in each of the 30,518 polling stations. About 300 EVMs in Nizamabad which were found to be defective have been replaced. Close to one lakh police personnel have been deployed for a smooth polling.
Two voting compartments would be provided in each polling station — one for Parliament with white colour ballot and the other for Assembly constituency with pink colour ballot. The voter will have to press the blue button against the candidate of his/her choice. It takes just two minutes to cast the two votes, the CEO said.
All private establishments which work in shifts should declare a holiday for at least the day shift to allow their employees to cast their vote, he said. Stern action would be initiated if the polling personnel were found to be favouring any political party or candidate. The EC has also increased the strength of flying squads on the polling day from 2,164 to 4,000. An amount of Rs.127 crore has been seized so far.