The Telegraph
Saturday , May 24 , 2014
CIMA Gallary

Model code in civic areas
- Teams to track paid news, funding & expenditure

Ranchi mayor elections, cancelled after cash-for-vote allegations surfaced a day before voting in April 2013, will now be held on June 23.

Announcing the poll schedule on Friday, state election commissioner Shiv Basant said the model code of conduct had, therefore, been imposed in Ranchi municipal area.

“Mayor elections will be held on June 23 from 7am to 5pm. Counting of votes and declaration of results will be done on June 27 and the date by which the entire electoral process will be wrapped up is June 28,” Basant said.

The top Ranchi Municipal Corporation post has been lying vacant ever since the mayoral election was called off on April 8, 2013, over a cash-for-vote controversy involving former mayor and Congress loyalist Rama Khalkho.

A day before the polls, police seized Rs 21.90 lakh from a city hotel, purportedly meant to influence voting in favour of Khalkho, who was eyeing a second term with tacit support from Congress.

Khalkho, who surrendered on June 4, 2013, and sent to jail the next day, is now out on bail.

No wonder Basant was categorical about surveillance teams.

“There will be teams to track paid news, funding and expenditure. Requisition of forces has been given to JAP and all required arrangements will be done,” he said.

Like in the Lok Sabha elections, NOTA option will be available on EVMs this time. The option to not choose any candidate wasn’t offered in the 2013 mayor polls.

There are 7,12,371 voters in Ranchi who will be able to cast their votes in as many as 901 booths.

Deputy commissioner Vinay Kumar Choubey said that the services of around 4,500 polling officers, picked up from the state, would be required to ensure smooth execution of the mayor election.

“Our calculations show that the state government has enough personnel to handle the election. So, we have decided not to involve Union government employees, bank officials, PSU officials, university staff and others. We will also not involve women in poll duties this time,” he said.

On Saturday, the election commission will announce a special number for citizens to report impropriety should they come across such instances.