Punjab invokes Section 144 ahead of vote countingtext_fields
Chandigarh: Prohibitory orders under section 144 of CrPC have been invoked in all districts of Punjab on Wednesday, prohibiting gatherings of people outside counting centres. Punjab Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) S Karuna Raju informed that the measure was taken given the poll counting scheduled on Thursday, PTI reported.
However, the prohibitory orders would not apply to observers appointed by the election commission.
In a statement, the CEO said that arrangements for the counting, as per the Election Commission mandate, has been made. Only two people could accompany the winning candidate or his official representative to collect the certificate, and victory rallies are prohibited, he said.
The counting begins at 8 am at 117 centres placed in 66 locations across the state. Security forces from 45 companies of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) have been deployed at the counting booths while 7,500 officials will be engaged in the counting process, the CEO said.
An area of a 100-metre radius around counting booths are declared "pedestrian zones", and no vehicles shall be allowed inside its perimeter. Three-tier cordoning points have been placed to check the entry of unauthorized people into the counting centres.
The first cordon is placed at the perimeter of the pedestrian zone (100 m radius from the counting centre) manned by senior magistrates and the required police force. The second one will be at the gate to the counting centre, and state armed police will man it. The third will be at the entrance to the halls, which would be guarded by CAPF.
A maximum of 14 counting tables will be arranged at each centre, and separate tables will cater counting of the ETPB (Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System) issued to service voters and officers/staff engaged in election duty, he said. March 10 has been declared a dry day by the government till the counting of votes is completed, he said.
Further, he asked all officials involved in the counting, media and others coming to the counting centres to follow Covid-19 guidelines. No electronic devices that could record sound and video, including mobile phones, tablet devices and laptops, are banned inside counting centres.