With 185 in fray, Telangana’s Nizamabad makes history

New Delhi: Making history of sorts, Telangana’s Nizamabad parliamentary seat became the first constituency where 12 ballot units were connected to a single control unit in each electronic voting machine (EVM) deployed in every polling booth in order to accommodate 185 candidates who were in the fray.

With 185 candidates, the Election Commission had first considered holding polls in this small constituency through ballot paper, but later ruled in favour of EVMs with several ballot units to accommodate 186 voting options — 185 candidates plus NOTA.

Deputy Election Commissioner Sudeep Jain told the media that over nine days since the dispatch of EVMs from Bengaluru to their actual rollout on Thursday, the poll officers did extensive hard work from setting up the units in each polling booth to mock polls, and eventually the final voting. He said all this went “extensively well” without any technical issues.

“We had to deploy 25,000 ballot units connected to roughly 2,000 odd control units and VVPATs across roughly 1,800 polling stations. It was not an easy task but due to hard work of the field officials, it went extensively well,” he said.

Jain added that despite this extensive deployment which was the first experiment of this kind, only six ballot units, two control units and seven VVPATs had to be replaced in all.

“This itself is historic considering such a extensive work has been carried out. There were over 700 engineers pressed in service to ensure that they are able to do this exercise. Extensive voter awareness was carried out so they know where the ballot unit with their candidate is going to be located,” he said.