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LS poll: Elaborate arrangements made in Pondy, says election officer

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Puducherry, Apr 16 (PTI) All necessary arrangements have been made for the April 19 Lok Sabha poll in Union Territory of Puducherry, District Election Officer A Kulothungan said here on Tuesday.

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Special arrangements are in place for senior citizens, pregnant women and physically challenged voters at polling stations to ensure that they do not face any difficulty in exercising their franchise, he said.

Addressing mediapersons, Kulothungan appealed to the voters to exercise their franchise to ensure that Union Territory ensured cent per cent polling.

The DEO said that the campaign by political parties and candidates should end at 6 pm on Wednesday. The number of flying squads has been increased to 72 from 24 to ensure that there was no violation of the model code of conduct.

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As many as 4,468 government staff were deployed for poll duty and 211 micro-observers who were being trained would also take charge, he said.

Kulothungan said that 23 polling stations in Puducherry would be manned by women staff. Also, 31 polling stations in Mahe, five stations in Karaikal and one in Yanam would be manned by them. Eight polling stations would be manned by youth while Mahe, Karaikal and Yanam would have one booth each manned by the youth.

The DEO said 1,529 persons (85 years and above) had exercised their franchise under the special arrangement to vote from home and 1,294 persons with disabilities also used the facility.

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Special transport facilities would be provided for those above 85 years old to proceed to their respective polling booths and would be dropped back at their residences on April 19, he added.

"All voters should bring their Electors Photo Identity Cards and in case they have misplaced the cards they could show any of the 10 alternative documents such as PAN cards, Bank Pass Books or driving licenses as approved by the Election Commission," the DEO said.

The polling will begin at 7 am on April 19 and will end at 6 pm. Voters who turned up at the polling booths before 6 pm would be issued tokens to enable them to vote, he said.

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Puducherry has a total strength of 10,23,699 voters and of them, 4,80,569 are men, 5,42,979 women and 151 voters come under third gender. There are 28.921 first-time voters.

Twenty six contestants are in the fray for the lone Lok Sabha seat in the union territory.

Puducherry Home Minister and BJP candidate A Namassivayam is locking horns with present Lok Sabha member and Puducherry Congress Committee president V Vaithilingam. The AIADMK has fielded G Tamizhvendhan as its nominee. PTI COR KH

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