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Final countdown to mayor election

Ranchi, June 21: A year after the Ranchi mayoral polls was cancelled over horse-trading allegations, the state capital’s 7,12,371 voters are once again ready to elect their civic boss.

With the campaigning for the fresh mayoral elections ending at 5pm today, all eyes are now set on Monday when EVMs will go beep at 901 polling booths in 55 wards under Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC).

The state election commission and the district administration are busy with last-minute preparations to ensure that there is no glitch during the voting day. As many as 4,500 polling officers, mostly government employees, have been summoned for poll duty while 200 buses were collected from schools today and stationed at Morabadi grounds for ferrying the polling officers to their respective booths. They will start reaching the booths from Sunday evening.

“We will keep 10 buses on reserve, while the rest — 100 mini buses and 90 big ones — will be used for polls,” said Ranchi deputy commissioner Vinay Kumar Choubey, also the district election officer.

Tomorrow, Choubey will be going for physical verification of all the booths and check arrangements such as drinking water kiosks, ramps for disabled and seats.

Each booth will be controlled by three booth-level officers (BLOs) while there will be 90 patrolling officers and 29 zonal magistrates.

Cautious after last year’s fiasco when a sum of Rs 21.9 lakh was recovered from a city hotel a day before the April 8 elections with former mayor and candidate Rama Khalkho being linked to the cash-for-vote controversy, the poll panel is taking no chances this time. Instruction has been issued to BLOs to keep in touch with the control room, which will be manned by seven officers and 32 supervisors, who will be working under district social officer Lal Singh Kureil.

Web-casting will be carried out in three model booths.

“Counting will be held at Pandra Bazar on June 27. Results will be declared in the afternoon,” the deputy commissioner added.

The 14 mayoral candidates are upbeat. “My hard work will definitely pay off,” said BJP-backed Asha Lakra, who headed to Ranchi Club for refreshments soon after campaigning ended.