Deputy commissioner Amitabh Kaushal during the inspection at Jamshedpur Cooperative College on Wednesday. Picture by Bhola Prasad
East Singhbhum district administration is leaving no stone unturned to prevent a skirmish between supporters of rival political groups on May 16, counting day for Jamshedpur Lok Sabha constituency.
Deputy commissioner and returning officer for the seat Amitabh Kaushal has directed that Section 144 will be strongly implemented across Circuit House area, where designated EVM strongroom Jamshedpur Co-operative College is located.
Kaushal on Wednesday inspected premises of Jamshedpur Cooperative College. Senior administrative officials including SSP Amol V. Homkar and representatives of various political parties accompanied him.
“Political parties will be allowed to set up camps on the college campus. Only designated counting agents — those with identity cards issued by the administration — will be allowed in the camps,” he said, adding that supporters would not be allowed to gather on the premises or outside.
Earlier, political parties set up camps on the approach roads to the counting centre. Supporters armed with gulaal, crackers, dhols and nagaras used to gather outside the centre and wait for the declaration of results.
The crowds swelled over the day and police and administrative officials had to wade through a sea of people to reach the strongroom. This apart, the gathering also raised fears of a clash between rival political groups.
District administration has also issued a list of dos and don’ts for counting agents who would be present at the strongroom on May 16.
The agents will not be allowed to carry meals, water bottles, cigarettes, pan masala or cellphones inside the strongroom. “There are six Assembly segments in Jamshedpur parliamentary constituency. For each of these, the administration will depute an assistant returning officer. There will be 14 counting tables for each Assembly segment. A maximum of 15 counting agents from one party will be deputed for each Assembly segment. One of them will be present on each of the 14 counting tables. One of the counting agents will remain with the assistant returning officer,” said Kaushal.
Candidates and counting agents of various parties have been asked to be be present at the strongroom after 7am, an hour before the counting begins.
“Counting agents will not be allowed to go outside for flimsy reasons. They have to finish their meals before entering the strongroom. We will make provisions for drinking water at the strongroom,” Kaushal added.
BJP’s district president Raj Kumar Srivastava, who was present during the inspection visit, welcomed the administration’s directive.
“We welcome the administrative move to conduct counting in a peaceful and disciplined manner. We will abide by the directives,” said Srivastava.
JVM district president Firoz Khan was also present during the inspection visit.