Flood-hit live in vicinity of polling stations: Naruala

Moazum Mohammad

Srinagar: Dispelling the notion flood-hit people have relocated to other places, JK Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) on Saturday stated that 99 polling booths would have to be shifted in the wake of floods, however majority of people were staying in the vicinity of polling stations.
“Due to floods, only 99 polling stations need to be changed. We sought report and learnt majority of people affected by flood are staying within polling areas. What I heard is that they (flood-hit) are not far away from polling booths,” JK CEO Umang Naruala told reporters here.
Following the announcement of dates by Chief Election Commissioner of India at New Delhi, Narula said that “adequate” security forces would be deployed during polls.  The polls for 87 legislative assembly seats would be five-phased beginning from November and will culminate by the end of December. The polling would be held on November 25, December 2, 9, 14 and 20.
Ruling National Conference had objected to holding of polls in the state in the aftermath of the devastating floods. However, opposition PDP and Congress have openly supported timely polls. The term of Omar Abdullah-led government expires on 19 January 2014.
Replying to a query about the transfer of Returning Officers in the state, Narula said: “It has come to my notice that some Returning Officers have been transferred. There’s an instruction from Election Commissioner that they shouldn’t be transferred without consultation. But we are looking into the matter,” he said.
He said that “free and fair” polls would be conducted in the state and there would be proper deployment of observers to monitor the elections.
“Free and fair polls will be held in the state as happened in the Lok Sabha elections. Every aspect will be taken care of to hold polls in a congenial atmosphere. The model code of conduct comes into vogue immediately,” he added.