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ECI to allow people in storm-hit Jalpaiguri to cast vote using voter's slip

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Kolkata, Apr 1 (PTI) The Election Commission of India said that it will ensure that voters of Jalpaiguri town, Maynaguri and other storm-hit areas are not deprived of exercising their democratic rights even if their voter cards and other documents were damaged or lost because of the devastation on Sunday.

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People would be allowed to vote with "voters' slip", an official said on Monday.

A ‘voter's slip’ is a document to identify a voter from information in the published electoral roll of the ECI. Such slips are distributed by political parties and can also be downloaded from the website of the poll panel.

At least five people died and over 200 were rendered homeless, after a sudden storm and heavy rain wreaked havoc in Jalpaiguri town and its surrounding areas on Sunday.

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"This is a disaster and an emergency. Houses of many people were damaged and they have lost almost everything. There could be several people whose voter identity cards were damaged or lost in this disaster. We will ensure they can vote. The voters will be allowed to cast their votes using voters' slips," an official of the poll panel told PTI.

He, however, added that people will be allowed to cast their votes only if they have their names on the voters' list.

Polling will be held in Cooch Behar, Alipurduar and Jalpaiguri seats in the first phase of the Lok Sabha elections on April 19.

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"We have reports that 11 booths were damaged in Sunday's storm. We have enough time to restore everything before the polling date," he told PTI.

Meanwhile, the poll panel on Monday removed two of its officials citing that they were in their respective posts for several years.

The two are Additional Chief Electoral Officer Amit Roy Chowdhury and Joint Chief Electoral Officer Rahul Nath, according to an order issued by the ECI. PTI SCH NN

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