When ballot boxes 'fly' as passengers!
Ballot boxes for the presidential election are 'flying' as passengers and have been allotted an aircraft seat each as they make their way to most state capitals where they will be used for the July 18 poll.
Separate tickets are booked for the ballot boxes in the name of "Mr Ballot Box" and 'he' is seated in the front row of aircraft beside the seat of the officer transporting the poll material such as ballot papers and special pens to mark votes.
While 14 ballot boxes will be dispatched on Tuesday, 16 will be sent out on Wednesday. The ballot box meant for Parliament House and Delhi Legislative Assembly are likely to be dispatched on Wednesday.
The ballot box meant for Himachal Pradesh would travel by road, officials said.
Assistant returning officer from the state and one official from the office of the state chief electoral officer come to Nirvachan Sadan, the EC headquarters here, to collet the poll material. They are mandated to return to the state capital the same day.
Once the ballot boxes and ballot papers reach the state capitals, these are stored in previously sanitised and properly sealed strong rooms and the process is videographed.
After the poll is over, the polled and sealed ballot boxes and other election material have to be transported back to the office of returning officer -- this time it is the Rajya Sabha secretary general -- by the next available flight.
The boxes and other documents are carried personally in the aircraft cabins -- never out of sight of accompanying officers.
Voting is held in Parliament House and state legislative assemblies and elected MPs and MLAs -- not the nominated -- are entitled to vote.
MLCs are not entitled to vote in presidential poll.
While speaking to the assistant returning officers, Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar emphasised that strict adherence to procedures by the EC teams has become its hallmark in delivering error free elections time and again.
He said a set of well-defined instructions and standard operating procedures that are required to be followed thoroughly to complete every electoral process account for EC's robustness for conducting elections.
He asked the officials to be vigilant and ensure strict adherence to protocols and guidelines for transportation and storage of election materials, including ballot boxes and ballot papers, the poll panel said in a statement.