Nagaland completes preparations for ULB polls

Police personnel dispatched for poll day to their respective stations at Imkongmeren Sports Complex, Mokokchung on June 25. (DIPR Photo)

Kohima, June 25 (MExN): For the conduct of ULB election on June 26, the State Election Commission (SEC) has directed to refer to Rule 48 of the Nagaland Municipal Election Rules 2023 regarding admission of persons to the Polling Station and compliance thereof by all Returning Officers/Presiding Officers.

It stated that the Presiding Officer should admit into the Polling Station only the Electors; Polling Officials; Public Servants on duty in connection with the Election.

It said that such persons may be the Election Observer, Deputy Commissioner, Sector Magistrate/Officer or other Government Officials on election duty; Persons authorised by the Commission. Such persons shall be required to produce on demand authority letter or Entry Pass for the purpose; Each Candidate, his/her Election Agent and Polling Agent at a time; A child in arms accompanying an Elector; A person accompanying a blind or infirm Elector who cannot move without help; Such other persons as the Returning Officer or the Presiding Officer may employ under Rule 46 (2) or Rule 47. 

Under Rule 46 (2), in case the assistance of a woman becomes necessary to assist women Electors or to help in conducting search on any woman Elector, the Presiding Officer may entrust a female Polling Official, if on duty, or another woman with her consent from amongst the women Electors present then and there for performing the role. Under Rule 47, for helping in identification of Electors or to assist the Presiding Officer, if situation demands, during the Poll, the Presiding Officer may take the assistance of the concerned Ward/Colony); and GB.

The SEC said that the expression “Public Servants on Duty” does not include Ministers, MP, State Ministers and Deputy Ministers of Centre/States, including Advisors/MLAs of States. They are not allowed to be appointed as Election Agents/Polling Agents as they have to be escorted by their security guards who cannot be allowed entry into the Polling Station.

The expression “Public Servants on Duty” also does not include Police Officers. Such officers whether in uniform or in plain clothes should not, as a general rule, be allowed into a Polling Station unless the Presiding Officer decides to call them inside in unavoidable circumstances for the maintenance of law and order or some similar purpose.

The Returning Officers have been asked to issue Identity Card to the contesting candidates bearing their photographs. In case situation demands, the Presiding Officer may ask for its production. Similarly, the Polling Agents of the Candidate can be asked to produce their Identity Card, that is, the attested copy of their appointment letter. The attestation is to be made by the Returning Officer.

No security personnel accompanying any candidate, or any Agent or Elector, should be permitted to enter the Polling Station, it directed.

Regulation of entry of voters

Under Rule 46 of the Nagaland Municipal Election Rules 2023, the Commission said that there should be separate queue each for men and women voters, to be admitted alternately in separate batches. The Presiding Officer should regulate the admission of Voters inside the Polling Station in such a manner that there is no crowding by Voters inside the Polling Station. 

For voters such as Persons with Disabilities (PwDs), senior voters (75 years & above), blind and infirm voters, women voters with babies in arms, their admission should be given precedence over other voters in the queue. “If case of unavoidable necessity, the Presiding Officer may take the assistance of the woman assistant as provided under Rule 46 (2) and specified in 1(h) above, including the MTS Polling Official, to help PwD Voters in wheel chair, blind and infirm Voters, who in addition to the companion, as provided for under Rule 57(1), require assistance to enter the Polling Station,” it stated. However, other than the companion accompanying such blind or infirm Voters, and who has fulfilled the conditions for assisting such voters as provided under the Rule thereof, no other person shall be allowed to enter the voting compartment accompanying such voters.

Facilities to media representatives

Subject to the maintenance of peace and order, there is no objection to the media persons taking photographs of crowd of voters lining up outside the polling station. “However, no one including the publicity officials of the State Government should be allowed inside the Polling Station without a Letter of Authority/Entry Pass from the State Election Commission.”

Under no circumstances will the media person take photograph of the proceedings inside the Polling Station or go near the voting compartment, violating secrecy of voting, or conduct interview with the Polling Personnel. Necessary information may be disseminated to all the Presiding Officers concerned for compliance.

Kohima: DIPR report stated that polling parties with ballot boxes and polling materials have been dispatched from the office of the Deputy Commissioner, Kohima on June 25. Before the dispatch, a solemn invocation was said by Rev Vezopa, President of Kohima Town Baptist Pastors' Fellowship. Polling teams of all 76 polling stations covering 14 wards under the Kohima Municipal Council reported their arrival at their respective destinations.

Chümoukedima: The preparation of Municipal and Town Council Election for Chümoukedima were carried out on full swing. Polling personnel along with election material distribution for Chümoukedima Town council and Medziphema Town council under Chümoukedima District have been dispatched on June 25 from DC Office, Chümoukedima. The preparation was conducted under the supervision of ADC & RO, Chümoukedima, Kuzonyi Wideo, ADC& RO, Medziphema, James Swu, along with other officials, stated a DIPR report.

Chümoukedima Town council there are total of 11 wards, 96 polling personnel manning 24 polling stations, while Medziphema Town Council had a total of 9 ward and 10 polling stations. There are 5 Polling stations designated for all women polling stations-2 at Medziphema and 3 at Chümoukedima district respectively. Adequate arrangements were put in place to ensure smooth conduct of the electoral process in the district.

Mangkolemba: An official order has been issued by the ADC & RO, Mangkolemba T Lankonsen Tsanglao, directing all village councils under Mangkolemba Subdivision (Alongkimna circle, Longchem circle, Tsurangkong circle, and Merangmen circle) to ensure that the movement of their villagers does not disrupt peaceful polling in the town. “Failure to comply will result in necessary actions being taken against the concerned village councils,” a DIPR report stated.  It is to be noted that the election pertains only to the citizens of Mangkolemba town listed in the approved E-roll of the Urban Local Body, and not for the rural areas.