Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar said on Wednesday that the court has given Congress leader Rahul Gandhi 30 days to seek judicial redress after he was convicted in a criminal defamation case and that the commission will wait before calling by-elections in the Wayanad parliamentary constituency.
“We have six months to hold a by-election after a seat falls vacant. The trial court has given 30 days time for judicial remedy. So, we will wait,” Kumar said in a press conference here.
Rahul Gandhi was removed from the Lok Sabha on March 24 after being convicted in a criminal defamation case in Surat for the remark “Modi surname.” When asked about the Aam Aadmi Party’s status as the national party, the CEC stated that the Commission is reviewing its status.
When asked about the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly elections, the CEC stated that the commission is aware of the “vacuum” that needs to be filled.
“The SSR (special summary revision) was conducted on the date of October 1 in Jammu and Kashmir. SSR is conducted with a cut-off date of January 1 in the entire country. We did it there because we wanted to complete the process as fast as possible. This process is to bring them at par as far as the voter list is concerned with the rest of the country. We are aware that there is a vacuum that needs to be filled,” he said.
The CEC had previously announced the schedule for the Karnataka Assembly elections. On Wednesday, Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar announced that voting would take place in a single phase on May 10. The CEC announced that the vote will be counted on May 13.
The CEC stated that the total number of electors in the state is 5.21 crores, with 16,976 voters aged 100 and above. Over 58,000 polling stations would be set up across the state, he said.
“There are 224 Assembly constituencies of which 36 are reserved for the SCs and 15 for the STs. The total electorates in the state are 5,21,73,579 crores of which males are 2.62 crores and females are 2.59 crores. The total number of 80 plus electors is 12.15 lakhs. It is an increase of 32 percent from 2018. It also includes 16,976 proud electors who are 100 plus. The number of persons with disabilities (PWDs) has increased to 5.55 lakhs. This is an increase of close to 150 percent,” Kumar said.
He stated that the number of first-time voters in Karnataka increased by 9.17 lakhs between 2018-19.
“All young voters who are turning 18 years of age by April 1, will be able to vote in the Karnataka Assembly elections,” he said.
The CEC also established security measures for the state’s identified sensitive booths.
“There are 58,282 polling stations in Karnataka of which 20,866 are urban. The average number of electors per polling station comes to 883. On all the sensitive booths which have been identified, we take four to five measures. Either there would CAPF, or web-casting or a micro-observer. With the combination of all of these, we tend to put more vigour and vigil on the sensitive booths,” he informed.
“There would be 240 model polling stations which will be made eco-friendly and green booths. 100 booths would be managed purely by persons with disability,” Kumar added explaining the measures taken by the ECI for attracting the youth to vote.