EC prepares for 2024 Lok Sabha polls; begins 'first level check' of EVMs, papertrail machinestext_fields
New Delhi: The Election Commission has started "first level checks" of EVMs and papertrail machines throughout the country in a gradual manner in preparation for the Lok Sabha elections in 2024 and the five assembly elections scheduled for this year's end, according to sources.
"Mock polls" are part of the first level check (FLC) process, they said.
"It is a pan-India exercise. FLC will take place across the country in a phased manner, including all constituencies of Kerala," an Election Commission functionary said.
He was responding to a question on a mock poll taking place in Kerala's Wayanad Lok Sabha constituency, which fell vacant following the disqualification of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi after he was convicted in a criminal defamation case in March by a sessions court in Surat.
"The EC issues a calendar for such exercises and there are standing instructions that are to be followed by state chief electoral officers," the functionary explained.
The functionary pointed out that FLCs will also take place in the five poll-bound states of Rajasthan, Mizoram, Chhattisgarh, Telangana and Madhya Pradesh as well as assembly and parliamentary seats where by-polls are due.
At present, the Lok Sabha seats of Wayanad, Pune and Chandrapur (Maharashtra), Ghazipur (Uttar Pradesh) and Ambala (Haryana) are vacant.
Gandhi's plea seeking a stay on the conviction and sentencing is pending before the Gujarat High Court.
During FLCs, electronic voting machines and papertrail machines are checked for mechanical flaws by engineers of BEL and ECIL, the two PSUs who manufacture the two equipment.
Faulty machines are returned to the manufacturers for repair or replacement.
A mock poll is also held to check the two machines in the presence of representatives of political parties.
With PTI inputs