Kolkata: The State Election Commission is seeking pre-vote in many states. According to the commission, 112 municipalities have expired at the moment. The commission does not have enough EVMs to hold these 112 municipalities together. Therefore, the State Election Commission (West Bengal Civic Polls) wants to hold a referendum in multiple phases.

The State Election Commission informed the High Court about this in an affidavit filed in a public interest litigation filed by state BJP vice-president Pratap Banerjee. In other words, what the BJP wanted will not be a pre-poll in the state at once. In the first phase of state voting will be through Kolkata and Howrah Purnigam.

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The real problem for the commission is to hold 112 pre-polls together. Because, in the affidavit in the High Court, the commission has stated that 30173 EVMs are required for 112 municipal votes at a time. This amount of electronic voting machine or EVM is not in the hands of the commission at the moment. The State Election Commission has 158 EVMs in operation. Among these functional EVMs are M2 type EVM 751 and M1 type EVM 636 which are currently with the Commonwealth.

Here is a brief example of the information provided by the Commission in its affidavit in the High Court. 8999 EVM required for pre-poll of Kolkata Puranigam. There will be 4704 polling stations in Kolkata and 941 additional polling stations. A total of 6999 EVMs are required, including reserves and training. In other words, in case of EVM insufficiency, pre-voting of state municipalities at the same time is actually a problem for the commission.

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In the meantime, the state has informed the High Court in an affidavit that the state will go to the polls in multiple phases following the path shown by the National Election Commission. The first round of voting proposal is 19 December. On that day, the state wants the votes of the entire corporation of Kolkata and Howrah. In Kolkata, 85 per cent and in Howrah 55 per cent second dose vaccination has been completed. It is customary for the State and the State Election Commission to hold pre-voting on the basis of discussion. From that point of view, both sides agreed in favor of the referendum on multiple occasions.

Arnab Hazra

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