The Election Commission has declared the agenda for Karnataka state assembly elections scheduled to be held on May 12 but the BJP party IT head had tweeted the info before the official announcement, embarrassing the Election Commission.
The term of the Legislative Assembly of Karnataka will expire on 28 may 2018 and the EC is required to hold elections before the expiry date. Accordingly, the EC has announced the schedule as below:
The Commission said it has prepared the Schedule keeping in mind s climatic conditions, academic calendar, major festivals, prevailing law and order situation in the State, availability of Central Police Forces, time needed for movement, transportation and timely deployment of forces and in-depth assessment of other relevant ground realities.
Schedule for General Election to the Legislative Assembly of Karnataka, 2018
|Date of Issue of Gazette Notification||17.04.2018 (TUE)|
|Last Date of Nominations||24.04.2018 (TUE)|
|Date for Scrutiny of Nominations||25.04.2018 (WED)|
|Last Date for Withdrawal of candidatures||27.04.2018 (FRI)|
|Date of Poll||12.05.2018 (SAT)|
|Date of Counting||15.05.2018 (TUE)|
|Date before which election shall be completed||18.05.2018 (FRI)|
Karnataka Assembly Seat Matrix:
(1) Assembly Constituencies
The total number of Assembly Constituencies in the State of Karnataka and seats reserved for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, are:
|State||Total No. of ACs||Reserved for SCs||Reserved for STs|
(2) Electoral Rolls
The existing electoral rolls of all the Assemblies Constituencies in the State of Karnataka have been revised, with reference to 01.01.2018 as the qualifying date. Final publication of electoral rolls has been done on 28.02.2018 on the NVSP website (www.nvsp.in) / CEO, Karnataka website (www.ceokarnataka.kar.nic.in). As per the final electoral roll, the number of electors in the State is as follows:
|State||Total No. of electors as per draft electoral rolls||Total No. of electors as per final electoral rolls|
(Approx. 4.90 Cr.)
(Approx. 4.968 Cr.)
(3) Polling Stations and Special Facilitation
The number of Polling Stations of Karnataka are as follows:
|No. of Polling
Stations in 2013
|No. of Polling
Stations in 2018
(4) Special Arrangement For Women:
All- women Managed Polling Stations’ shall be set up in one polling station for each Assembly constituency where the entire polling staff, including the police and security personnel, shall be women. Total 224 Women managed Polling Stations will be setup for the entire state of Karnataka for the first time.
(5) Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPATs):
EVMs & VVPATs shall be used in all the polling stations of all the Karnataka to enhance the transparency and credibility of the election. The Commission has already made arrangements to ensure availability of adequate number of EVMs and VVPATs for the smooth conduct of election.
The First Level Check of EVMs and VVPATs has been completed in the presence of representatives of political parties. A two-stage randomization of EVMs and VVPATs will also be done. In the first stage, all the EVMs and VVPATs stored in the district EVM warehouse will be randomized by the District Election Officer (DEO) in the presence of the representatives of the recognized political parties for Assembly Constituency-wise allocation.
Second randomization of EVMs and VVPATs will be done at RO level before candidate setting of EVMs and VVPATs for polling station-wise allocation. This is done in the presence of General Observer of Election Commission of India, contesting candidates/their agents. This process will be carried out after finalization of the contesting candidates. At this stage also, candidates or their agents/representatives will be allowed to check and satisfy themselves in every manner about the error-free functionality of the EVMs and VVPATs.
On a pilot basis, VVPAT from One (1) Polling Station in each Assembly Constituency will be randomly selected by the Returning Officer by Draw of Lot in presence of all candidates to count VVPAT paper slips for verification of the result obtained from the Control Unit. Thus, paper slip for one polling station in each Assembly Constituency will be counted in Karnataka.
VVPATs will be used along with EVMs in all polling stations of all the 224 Assembly Constituencies of poll going state of Karnataka to enhance the transparency and credibility of the election. A comprehensive SVEEP programme has already been launched in Karnataka to increase voters’ awareness and education about the VVPATs.
(6) Model Code of Conduct
The Model Code of Conduct comes into effect immediately from now onwards. All the provisions of the Model Code will apply to the whole of Karnataka and will be applicable to all candidates, political parties and, the State Government of Karnataka. The Model Code of Conduct shall also be applicable to the Union Government insofar as announcements/policy decisions pertaining to/for this State is concerned.
The Commission has made elaborate arrangements for ensuring the effective implementation of the MCC Guidelines. Any violations of these Guidelines would be strictly dealt with and the Commission re-emphasizes that the instructions issued in this regard from time to time should be read and understood by all Political Parties, contesting candidates and their agents/representatives, to avoid any misgivings or lack of information or inadequate understanding/interpretation. The government of the poll-bound State has also been directed to ensure that no misuse of official machinery/position is done during the MCC period.
The Commission has also issued instructions for swift, effective and stringent action for enforcement of Model Code of Conduct during the first 72 hours of announcement of the election schedule and also for maintaining extra vigilance and strict enforcement action in the Last 72 hours prior to the close of polls. These instructions have been issued in the form of Standard Operating
Procedures (SOPs) for compliance by the field election machinery.
(7) Election Expenditure Monitoring:
Some new initiatives taken by the Commission to strengthen the Expenditure Monitoring mechanism are:
(a) Standard Operating Procedure for Seizure and release of cash: For the purpose of maintaining purity of elections, the Election Commission of India has issued the Standard Operating Procedure for Flying Squads and Static Surveillance Teams, constituted for keeping vigil over excessive campaign expenses, distribution of items of bribe in cash or in kind, movement of illegal arms, ammunition, liquor, or antisocial elements etc. in the constituencies during election process.
(b) Accounting of the expenditure incurred for campaign vehicles – on the basis of permissions granted: It has come to the notice of the Commission that the candidates take permission from the Returning Officer for use of vehicles for campaign purpose, but some candidates do not show the vehicle hiring charges or fuel expenses in their election expenditure account. Therefore, it has been decided that unless the candidate intimates the R.O. for withdrawing the permission, the notional expenditure on account of campaign vehicles will be calculated based on the number of vehicles for which permissions is granted by the Returning Officer.
(c) Account Reconciliation Meeting: In order to reduce litigation relating to expenditure accounts, a reconciliation meeting will be convened by the DEOs before final submission of the accounts, on the 26th day after the declaration of the results.
(d) All expenditure incurred by those candidates, their party agents or party leaders on their travel, boarding, lodging etc. who travel to overseas countries for the purpose of canvassing in their favour to seek votes of overseas electors residing there, would be deemed to be the expenditure incurred or authorized by the candidates in connection with their election and will have to be included in their account of election expenses. Moreover, any inducement to overseas electors by way of air tickets or any other allurements to them, in cash or kind, to come to India for the purpose of voting at the election would amount to the electoral offence of ‘bribery’ within the meaning of section 171B of the IPC as also the corrupt practice of ‘Bribery’ within the meaning of section 123(1) of the R.P. Act, 1951.
(e) Expenditure incurred on candidates’ Booth/(Kiosk) and on TV/Cable Channel / Newspaper owned by party for promoting the electoral prospects of the candidate in the account of the candidate:
The Commission, on further examination of the relevant provisions of section 77(1) of the R. P. Act, 1951, had decided that the candidates’ booths set up outside the polling stations should hereinafter be deemed to have been set up by the candidates as part of their individual campaign and not by way of general party propaganda and as such all expenditure incurred on such candidates’ booths shall be deemed to have been incurred/authorized by the candidate/his election agent so as to be included in his account of election expenses.
(f) Ceiling Of Election Expenses For Candidates:
The election expenses ceiling for candidates has been revised by the Government of India vide Notification dated 28th February, 2014. As per the revised ceilings, the maximum limit of election expenses for the Assembly Constituencies is Rs. 28 lakh per candidate for the state of Karnataka. All candidates are required to furnish their accounts of expenditure within 30 days of declaration of results.
(g) Final Accounts By Political Parties:
All Political Parties sponsoring candidates for the Legislative Assembly elections are required to maintain day-to-day accounts of all election campaign expenses and submit the accounts to the Commission within 75 days of the completion of such elections. Such accounts will be uploaded on the website of the Commission for public viewing.
(8) New ITApplications To Be Used For Forthcoming General Elections:
(a) SAMADHAN: Public Grievance Redressal & Monitoring System:
A comprehensive, robust and reliable pubic Grievance Redress System has been developed by the Election Commission to provide a common platform for all complaints, grievances, concerns and suggestions lodged by any member of the public, including our various stakeholders like political parties, candidates, civil society groups etc. a citizen has the multi-modal facility to lodge any election-related complaint via bouquet of channels/sources like website, email, letter, fax, SMS, call center ( Call center number is 1950) etc. A mobile app shall also be made available for the people, so that they can submit complaints with photographs/videos on the common platform.
(b) SUVIDHA: Single Window Permission System:
A single window system for giving election-related permission/clearness within 24 hours has been created. In this system, candidates and political parties can apply for permissions for meetings, rallies, vehicles, temporary election office, loudspeakers etc at a single location, where back-end convergence of various authorities/departments has been done. This system is put in place at every RO level in each sub-division which will provide for applying, processing, granting and monitoring permissions in a synergistic manner. However in case of permission for helicopter usage/ landing and use of helipads, the application shall have to be submitted at least 36 hours in advance.
(c) SUGAM: Vehicle Manaement System:
It is an IT based Vehicle Management System with the facility of issuance of requisition letters for vehicles, capturing of vehicle details with address, mobile number and bank details of owner and drive, transfer of vehicles from one district to another district etc.
(d) Webcasting /CCTV at poling stations:
Webcasting at identified critical stations for LIVE monitoring of election process, to keep a check on illegal activities such as booth capturing, money distribution and bogus voting and to bring about complete transparency in the voting process shall be undertaken. Further, during the election process, CCTV monitoring and webcasting shall also be done at various border check-posts, check-nakas and other sensitive and critical locations across the constituencies to keep a strict vigil on any nefarious activities designed to vitiate the electoral process.
(e) Voter Centric Information Dissseminatin Initiatives on Website of CEO, Karnataka (www.ceokarnataka.kar.nic.in):
It is the constant endeavor of the Commission to facilitate the voters in accessing the multifarious election-related services and information. As part of this vision, an SMS-based search facility and voter friendly interactive website has already been launched by CEO, Karnataka and successfully working.
(f) One-way Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot for Service Voters:
All registered Service Voters will be delivered e-postal ballot of their respective constituency through electronically transmitted postal ballot (ETPBS), which will be printed and after casting the vote will be sent back to Returning Officer by post.
(9) Other New Initiatives
- Use of VVPATs at all Polling Stations:
VVPATs will be used along with EVMs in all 56,696 Polling Stations of 224 Assembly Constituencies of poll going state of Karnataka to enhance the transparency and credibility of the elections. On a pilot basis, VVPAT from One (1) Polling Station in each Assembly Constituency will be randomly selected to count VVPAT paper slips for verification of the result obtained from the control unit.
- All Women Managed Polling Stations:
All- women Managed Polling Stations’ shall be set up in one polling station for each Assembly Constituency where the entire polling staff, including the police and security personnel, shall be Women. Total 224 Women Managed Polling Stations will be setup for the entire state of Karnataka for the first time.
- Booth Level Planning:
First time in the Country an innovative “bottom up” approach of booth level planning and management has been implemented in the State of Karnataka where in Booth Level plans for 56,696 Polling Stations have been prepared containing all information and Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for response for smooth conduct of elections at each Polling Station. These booth level Plans have been used to prepare AC level, District level and State level Election Management Plans.
- E-Atlas :
As a new innovation, GIS based planning, implementation and monitoring of various elections related activities are being implemented in the State of Karnataka for Election Planning.
- E-Payment Gateway for Goods and Services:
All Payments will be made through e-payment gateway for (i) Timely Payment for all the Civilian Officials/Police Officials deployed for “Election Duties” (ii) Timely Payment to all the Owners of the Vehicles which are Requisitioned for Election Purpose , (iii) Timely Payment for all the Vendors who provide Goods and Services for Election related Duties in all the Assembly Constituencies.
- Registration of Service Voters and ETPBS:
Earlier, the Commission implemented ETPBS (Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System) on pilot basis in 4 states of Punjab, UP, Uttarakhand and Manipur and in the entire state of Goa. ETPBS was used in all the State Assembly Elections conducted during 2017-2018 and will be used in Karnataka election also.
- Friendly Polling Stations for differently abled electors:
Special facilitation voting at all Polling Stations would be ensured for all differently-abled, said the EC in its statement released on Tuesday, March 27, 2018.