Considering the shortage of Electronic Voting Machines (EVM) for the upcoming Municipal polls in West Bengal, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has decided to supply EVMs to the State Election Commission (SEC).
According to sources in the SEC, the poll body had asked for an additional 15,000 M2 model EVMs to conduct the upcoming 108 municipalities elections in the last week of February and the ECI has finally agreed to meet the shortage of the voting machines. The ECI has asked the state poll panel to confirm the requirement by January.
The SEC had altogether 20,500 EVMs of which 15,687 EVMs are in working condition. The SEC had recently conducted the polls in five municipal corporations and for that the SEC has used 10,620 EVMs and presently the poll panel has only 5,067 EVMs in their hand.
“It is not possible for us to conduct the polls of 108 municipalities with these machines. We need atleast 20,000 EVMs to conduct the polls and so we have asked the ECI to provide the additional EVMs and they have agreed for that. If the ECI gives us the voting machines then we will not have problems in conducting the polls,” a senior official of SEC said.
“In addition to this we have also asked for EVMs from different states and there is a possibility that we might get another 12,000 EVMs from Bihar. We are exploring other options too. Hope the shortage of the machines will be sorted out,” the official added.
The West Bengal State Election Commission is mulling conducting civic elections for the remaining municipalities in the state on February 27. According to State Election Commission (SEC) guidelines, the poll body would have to announce the election dates within the first week of February if it plans to conduct the polls on February 27. Elections have been due for more than two years in at least 108 civic bodies in West Bengal.