nominations opened for 59 assembly constituencies where polling
was scheduled in the second of the seven-phased Uttar Pradesh
elections Feb 11, the Election Commission Monday ordered special
arrangements for women voters.
"With a view to encouraging more and more women to come out to
exercise their voting rights, the commission has issued
instructions for arranging for a woman polling officer wherever
the number of women voters is high. Also in all such places, two
women voters would be given a chance after every man," said
additional chief electoral officer Anita Meshram.
"While the presence of women polling officers will encourage women
living in 'purdah' to vote, more opportunity was being given to
women voters because they were also required to look after the
routine domestic chores, which consumed a lot of their time,"
Meanwhile, during the course of the crackdown, the poll panel
Monday took action in as many as 5,000 cases of violation of the
model code of conduct. FIRs were lodged against 201 people in this
connection while 12,000 licensed weapons were ordered to be
deposited to prevent their misuse during the elections.
The seizure of unaccounted money over the past 20 days, since the
elections were announced Dec 25, touched a whopping Rs.28.53 crore
while 140,231 litres of liquor was seized during the drive so far.
The cash seizure drive, however, led to loud protests in Varanasi
where traders downed their shutters, alleging large scale
harassment by local authorities.
"We are being targeted for no reason. We were being threatened,
intimidated by officials who were indulging in blatant extortion
in the name of seizure of unaccounted money," said Ajit Bagga of
the Varanasi Vyapar Mandal.
He alleged a lot of traders had already suffered on account of
this drive when they had nothing whatsoever to do with either any
political party or any candidate.
"We are holding meetings with our counterparts all over the state
and if this practice is not stopped, we will give a call for a
state wide bandh," he warned.