New Delhi : Flights reaching New Delhi from the state capitals on July 20 will be carrying unique passengers – the ballot boxes containing votes to elect the nation’s president. The boxes will be allotted separate seats as well.
The ballot boxes – meant exclusively for the presidential elections – will be kept on the seat next to the official who is responsible for its safekeeping and “this is being done in accordance with the special right the Election Commission (EC) had got in 1969 from the civil aviation department”, an EC official told IANS.
All the airlines carrying election material between the state capitals and New Delhi would have to follow these guidelines, the official said.
The boxes, made of steel and carried inside wooden boxes, will be carried as hand baggage of poll officials and brought back with the status of a passenger.
After arriving at the airport here, the boxes would be taken directly from the aircraft by parliament security and Delhi Police, who have been permitted by civil aviation authorities to drive straight to the aircraft and carry the boxes to Parliament House.
The ballot boxes were being taken to the state capitals Saturday by the secretaries of the state legislative assemblies who are assistant returning officers (ARO) for the July 19 presidential election.
The counting will take place July 21 and the results are expected to be announced by the same evening, a Lok Sabha secretariat official said.
Lok Sabha Secretary General P.D.T. Achary is the returning officer.
The ballot papers will only have names of candidates and not symbols since the presidential candidates do not belong to any particular political party or grouping.
If the voter is not able to read, the help of the polling officer can be taken and only the numeral will have to be written against the candidate’s name. Any other form of entry will make the vote invalid.
Those MPs who are not able to vote in parliament here will be allowed to cast their votes in a state capital after taking prior permission from the Election Commission.