PATNA: State chief electoral officer (CEO) Ajay V Nayak said on Wednesday that voter verifiable paper audit trail (VVPAT) device attached to EVMs would be used at all the booths in Araria parliamentary constituency, as and when the byelection is held there. The VVPAT has been used only at selected booths in the state in the past.
The Araria seat fell vacant last month after the death of Mohammad Taslimuddin, who was the RJD MP from that constituency.
“The use of VVPAT-fitted EVMs will be subsequently extended to polling booths in all the parliamentary or assembly constituencies in the state after next year,” Nayak said.
While the parliamentary elections are due in 2019, the state would have assembly elections in 2020. There are 62,780 polling booths in Bihar. Normally, the number of polling booths gets increased in the multiple of 1.4, implying that the state would have around 87,890 polling booths during the next parliamentary elections.
“Actually, both the number of booths and the number of voters per polling booth are rationalized before every general or midterm election,” Nayak said.
As per the EC guidelines, a polling booth in rural area can have maximum of 1,200 voters and that in urban area 1,400. If it is rationalized, the booth-wise number of voters would be less than that or the same.
Implicitly, as per the existing figures, the state would require at least 87,890 VVPAT-fitted EVMs for the 2019 parliamentary elections. Nayak said the EC has assured that the companies concerned would be able to supply the required number of devices by the end of 2018.
As he said, the state has designated godowns to store EVMs in all the 38 districts. Of them, eight districts have sufficient surplus space to store VVPAT devices. Accordingly, the new godowns would be constructed in the remaining 30 districts.
Nayak said the EC had earmarked Rs200 crore for the construction of godowns in 30 districts to store VVPATs. The money would be provided by both the Centre and the state in 50:50 ratio, he added.
Meanwhile, the state election office on Wednesday launched a special drive for the revision of the electoral roll in which the final disposal of the claims regarding inclusion or deletion of names would be completed by November 30 this year.
The draft electoral roll has already been published for voters’ perusal at the district headquarters or at the booths. The final roll would be published on January 10 next year. The state has 6.84 crore voters, including 4.42 lakh in the age group of 18-19 years.