For voters’ safety, poll panel may drop indelible ink in Maoist areas
NEWDELHI: Concerned about possible reprisals by Maoist rebels against voters in the November assembly polls, the Chhattisgarh election office has asked the Election Commission of India (ECI) to consider relaxing a rule requiring the use of indelible ink in areas where the rebels are active.
The semi-permanent ink is applied to the forefinger of electors to prevent them from voting more than once under rules mandated by the ECI . The stain lasts several days before starting to fade.
Chhattisgarh has 14 areas where left-wing extremists are active. According to officials aware of the development, the chief election officer of Chhattisgarh has asked the commission to take a call on whether the use of the ink could be discontinued in these areas. “The EC is expected to take a call on whether this suggestion can be accepted and relay the same to the law ministry. If it is found tenable, then it will require a change in section 49(K) of the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961,” said an official, requesting anonymity.
Maoists are opposed to the electoral process and have in the past attacked people who voted. The use of indelible ink makes it easy to identify people who turned up at the polling booths to exercise their franchise.
Polling to pick a new assembly in Chhattisgarh will be conducted in two phases. On November 12, polling will be held in 18 constituencies that are located in areas under the grip of left-wing extremism (LWE).