Gujarat, which shall be going into polls later in the year will be among the two states where as many as 75,000 Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) gadgets will be used for the first time with the electronic voting machines, officials said Friday.
At least 60,000 VVPAT machines have already arrived while 15,000 more are likely to be delivered in the coming week. Besides Gujarat, the machines would be used in the Himachal Pradesh assembly elections, likely to be held around the same time.
A state Election Commission (EC) official said: "We have received over 60,000 VVPAT machines, while 10,000 are to come from the Bharat Electronics Ltd and 5,000 from Electronics Corporation of India." "These are likely to come in a week's time," he added.
The VVPAT machines, which will be attached to the EVMs, will allow voters to verify if their vote has gone to the intended candidate. The machines will be put to use in Gujarat following a petition filed by Ms Reshma Patel, one of the convenors of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti, who first approached the Gujarat High Court and subsequently the Supreme Court, seeking use of either ballot paper or VVPAT machines with EVMs.
Sources said Chief Election Commissioner Achal Kumar Joti earlier this week summoned Gujarat's Chief Electoral Officer BB Swain, Additional Director General of Police, Administration, Mohan Jha, Inspector General of Police, Technical Services, Narasimha Tomar and Nodal Income Tax Officer Samir Vakil to take stock of the state's preparedness for the elections.
A high-level team comprising the CEC, Election Commissioners Om Prakash Rawat and Sunil Arora, and other officials of the Election Commission, will pay a two-day visit to Gujarat in the first week of October to take a first-hand account of the State's poll preparedness, law and order situation, finalization of electoral rolls and political stability.
The final electoral roll will be declared on September 25 while the dates for the elections will be announced after the by the EC team's visit. The term of the 13th state assembly ends on January 22.
(With Inputs from PTI)