The TRS has succeeded in forcing the EC to use ballot papers instead of electronic voting machines for the upcoming by-elections in the region by making its activists file large number of nominations.
An EVM can accommodate a maximum of 64 candidates and in 11 of the 12 constituencies going to polls, the number exceeds that limit thanks to the flurry of nominations filed by TRS members. The lone exception is Nizamabad where the PCC chief, Mr D. Srinivas, is testing his fortunes. It was the EC’s turning down its request for elections through ballot papers that motivated the TRS to use this ruse.
There were 986 candidates in the fray in 12 segments on Friday, the last day for filing nominations, with Yellareddy receiving highest nominations of 114.
The chief electoral officer, Dr I.V. Subba Rao, said the EC would be left with no option but to conduct elections with ballot papers if large number of candidates remained in the reckoning.
As per the existing technology, four units each with names of 16 candidates can be attached to a master unit which stores the data. Though another four units can be attached to the second master unit, the process will be cumbersome and secrecy of voting cannot be ensured. “In case of two master units, the voter would have to reveal in which unit the name of candidate of his choice figured,” said the CEO.
Mr Subba Rao said the commission would have to make technological improvements to address the issue. He, however, ruled out deferring bypolls.
As many as 83 candidates filed nominations for Sirpur, 85 for Chennur, 74 in Mancherial, 19 in Nizamabad, 83 in Koratla, 84 for Dharmapuri, 91 in Vemulawada, 96 for Siricilla, 75 for Huzurabad, 84 in Siddipet and 98 for Warangal West.