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Photo Voter Slips Will not be Valid as Stand-Alone ID Voting: EC

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Indian Election Commission

New Delhi-The Election Commission of India has directed that all voters who have been issued Electors Photo Identity Card (EPIC) have to produce the Electors Photo Identity Card for their identification at polling station before casting their votes, it the Election Commission informed yesterday.

 Those voters who are not able to produce the EPIC will have to produce one of the following alternative photo identity documents for establishing their identity.

The list of 11 documents photo identity documents: 

  • Passport,
  • Driving License,
  • Service Identity Cards with photograph issued to employees by Central/State Govt./PSUs/Public Limited Companies,
  • Passbooks with photograph issued by Bank/Post Office,
  • PAN Card,
  • Smart Card issued by RGI under NPR,
  • MNREGA Job Card,
  • Health Insurance Smart Card issued under the scheme of Ministry of Labour,
  • Pension document with photograph,
  • Official identity cards issued to MPs/MLAs/MLCs, and
  • Aadhaar Card.

Overseas electors will have to have to produce their original passport only for identification, the EC said.

To assist the Voters, the Commission has further directed its officers that in the case of EPIC, minor discrepancies in the entries should be ignored provided the identity of the elector can be established by the EPIC.

If an elector produces an EPIC which has been issued by the Electoral Registration Officer of another Assembly Constituency, such card will also be accepted for identification, provided the name of that elector finds place in the electoral roll pertaining to the polling station where the elector has turned up for voting.  If it is not possible to establish the identity of the elector on account of mismatch of photograph, etc. the elector will have to produce one of the above mentioned alternative photo documents.

Earlier, the Commission had allowed Photo Voter Slip as a document for identification. However, there have been representations against its use as a stand-alone identification document on the grounds of misuse as these are printed after the finalisation of the roll and distributed just close to the poll through Booth Level Officers.

The design of Photo Voter Slip does not incorporate any security feature. In fact, Photo Voter Slip was started as an alternative document as the coverage of EPIC was not complete in earlier years. Currently more than 99 per cent electors possess EPIC, and more than 99 per cent adults have been issued Aadhar Cards, the EC said.

Taking all these facts in view, Commission has now decided that Photo Voter Slip will not be accepted as a stand-alone identification document for voting. 

However, Photo Voter Slip will continue to be prepared and issued to electors as part of the awareness building exercise. 

Further, the EC said that in order to make it clear to the electors that Photo Voter Slips will not be accepted as a stand-alone identification document for voting, the words “THIS SLIP WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED FOR THE PURPOSE OF IDENTIFICATION IN POLLING STATION. YOU ARE REQUIRED TO CARRY EPIC OR ONE OF THE 11 ALTERNATIVE DOCUMENTS SPECIFIED BY THE COMMISSION FOR VOTING” shall be printed on the Photo Voter Slip in bold letters.

These instructions were also passed to all the Returning Officers and all Presiding Officers. A copy of the instructions translated in the vernacular language will be supplied to each of the Presiding Officers, the EC said.

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Misc News/Press Release

Ban Speaker Rajeev Bindal, IPH Minister from Campaigning for Constantly Violating Model Code of Conduct, Misusing Govt Machinery: HPCC to CEO

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Rajeev Bindal and IPH Minister Mahender singh violates Model Code of Conduct

Shimla-Bharatiya Janata Party-led Himachal Pradesh Government is misusing government machinery and power in the by-elections to Pachhad (55) and Dharamshala (18) assembly constituencies, thus, violating Model Code of Conduct, alleged the HP Congress Committee in a memorandum submitted to the Chief Electoral Officer on October 14, 2019.

The memorandum was submitted by a delegation led by Hari Krishan Himral, political secretary to HPCC President, Kuldeep Rathor.

It’s pertinent to mention that Congress had expressed dissatisfaction over the functioning of the Electoral Officers, alleging that they are working under the pressure of the current government. Congress has also decided to hold a protest rally on October 15, 2019, against the inaction of the Electoral Officers against violators of MCC despite the submission of documentary proof.

The HPCC, in the memorandum, said that it has been constantly reporting violations of Model Code of Conduct in the poll-bound constituencies. Dr Rajeev Bindal, Speaker of HP Vidhan Sabha, is violating Vidhan Sabha Act by holding meetings in favour of BJP candidate. Congress said it has given documentary proof of his holding meetings in Naina Tikkar of Pachhad Constituency on October 4, 2019, and in Thakur Dwara on October 10, 2019. Bindal has already received a notice from the Election Commission, seeking his reply over allegations of campaigning in Pachhad constituency.

The Irrigation and Public Health Minister, Mahender Singh Thakur, has been camping in Pachhad constituency to lure voters by adopting unfair means and malpractices, Congress alleged. On his orders, the IP&H Department unloaded trucks full of GI pipes which are now stacked in different locations in Naina Tikkar, Rajgarh, Rasu Mandir, Dilman and Wasni panchayats, Congress alleged.

The Deputy Commissioner, Sirmaur, has been informed through SDM and Police complaints have been filed about violation of Code of Conduct by government officials, Ministers and Speaker. However, the DC is allegedly behaving as an agent of BJP itself, Congress said in the memorandum.

Misuse of government property like rain shelters, National Highway, both in Pachhad and Dharamshala, is being regularly reported, Congress alleged. They are being used to paste posters in favour of BJP candidates which is prohibited in MCC, it said. Congress said it has submitted four different complaints to the State Electoral Officer since October 9, 2019, but it appears that ministers, Speaker and government officials are not bothered to follow directions from the Election Officers and they still continue to violate MCC. BJP wishes to sabotage the by-elections by their misconduct and adoption of unfair means, it alleged. 

Congress has urged the Chief Electoral Officer to ban Bindal and Mahender Singh from campaigning for these elections for their misconduct and violation of MCC along with passing strict instruction to administration and police department to immediately remove stacks of GI pipes from the said locations and remove posters, hoardings and banners from government properties like NH and rain-shelters in both constituencies.

Congress also enclosed photographs with the memorandum as proof.

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Art & Culture

Devdhun Played by 2200 Bajantris at Kullu Dussehra Enters ‘India Book of Records’, Fest Concludes

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Video Dev Dhun at kullu dussehra enters india book of records

Kullu-The international Kullu Dussehra concluded on Monday with great fanfare and enthusiasm. More than 281 deities from various parts of Kullu district participated in this cultural extravaganza.

Other than Mega Natti performed by 4000 women on October 12, over 2200 Bajantris (instrumentalists) congregated at the Atal Sadan ground on October 13 in the presence of Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur to play ‘Devdhun’

Devdhun is the sound that resonates after playing different traditional instruments when deities move out of their temples to join local festivals. ‘Devdhun’ has been entered as a record in the India Book of Records with a record 2200 Bajantries playing the musical instruments simultaneously.

The Mega Natti performed in 2015 by nearly 10000 women at Kullu Dussehra has already entered into Guinness Book of World Records.

On Monday, Chief Minister presided over the concluding ceremony held at Lal Chand Prarthi Kala Kendra, Kullu. He announced to increase the nazrana (honorarium) of local deities participating in Kullu Dussehra festival by five per cent. He also announced an increase of 25 per cent in distance allowance (Duri Bhatta) given to the deities.

He announced 15 percent increase in remuneration of Bajantaris, who accompany the local deities to the festival besides increasing the amount for celebrating Haripur and Manikaran Dussehra from Rs 75,000 to Rs one lakh and for Vashisht Dussehra festival from existing Rs 50,000 to Rs. 75,000. He said that the ‘Gur’ of the Deities would be provided a separate amount of Rs 1000.

Kullu Dussehra provides a livelihood to the indigenous community as they provide them with a platform to display their products for a much wider audience. This festival was also contributing immensely in promoting tourism in the State with tourists visiting Kullu to watch this cultural extravaganza from the world over.

Jai Ram Thakur said that the State Government would ensure that this event not only become a regular event but also an added attraction of International Kullu Dussehra. He said that in the present era of cut-throat competition, our age-old culture and traditions were slowly vanishing and urged the people to come forward to conserve the same. He announced Rs. 5 lakh from his discretionary fund to the Bajantaries who performed during the event.

The Chief Minister also inaugurated the building of Press Club, Kullu for facilitating the journalists of Kullu district.

He distributed prizes to the winners of different events on the occasion and released Souvenir brought out by the Dussehra Organizing Committee. He also released a poster of documentary ‘Gallantry Saga-BRO, released a booklet published by State Language and Art Academy and a souvenir ‘Atal Samritian’ published by Kullu Sanskriti Vikas Manch.

Chief Minister was also presented with a book ‘Indigenous Building Practice System in Western Himalayas-A Comparative Study’ authored by a young author, Architect and expert in traditional Kathkuni house, Rahul Bhushan.

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Misc News/Press Release

Search Operation in Kangra-Pathankot Bordering Areas Following Terror Alert in Pathankot   

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Terrorist search in kangra district

Kangra- Kangra police on Sunday carried out an extensive search operation in areas adjoining to Pathankot. After inputs by intelligence agencies about a possible terrorist attack, Pathankot, Gurdaspur, and Batala were on high-alert. Punjab police and commandos had already launched a massive cordon and search operation to root out any possibility of possible infiltration and suspected dropping of weapons through drones in these areas.

As a part of the Kangra district falls in the bordering area with Pathankot, jawans of Kangra Police headed by Deputy Superintendent of Police, Nurpur, Sahil Arora, along with commandos have been carrying out search operation in these areas. The search was also carried out in the Chakki Dariya region. The police searched the sheds of the Gujjar community and labourers working at crusher sites.

Other than that, a search was also conducted at the hostels of a private institute in Bhadroyan. The jungle under Dhangu Police Station was also searched as the area is in the vicinity of Pathankot Air Base. There is no habitat or movement of locals in the jungle adjoining to Pathankot Airbase, therefore, it is vulnerable to terrorist activities, the ASP said.

Other than that, areas falling under Indora Sub-Division -Majra, Damtal, Kandwal, Lodhwan etc – were also searched and habitants living in these areas were also questioned.

The Additional Superintendent of Police, Vimukt Ranjan, has warned the locals regarding the entry or movement of suspicious people or sighting of suspicious objects. The locals were asked to inform the police at once in case they come across any such suspicious person or object.

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