Amid the arrival of a number of new electronic voting machines in Odisha, the state chief electoral officer (CEO) D N Gupta Friday has asked the media to refrain from speculations about early state Assembly poll.
The CEO’s office said in a statement that there is no connection between EVMs being supplied to the state and timing of the state poll, which is held simultaneously with Lok Sabha election.
“EVMs have a life span. The factory-made machines are being supplied to different states, including Odisha for use in future elections,” the statement said.
Senior BJP leader and Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan had earlier dropped hints about early polls in Odisha. The arrival of a batch of 8200 new EVMs in the first phase from Electronics Corporation of India Limited, Hyderabad to the state on Tuesday triggered speculation in the media about early Assembly election in the coastal state.
Representatives of different political parties were present when the EVMs arrived at the Puri district warehouse.
Lok Sabha and Odisha Assembly election are both due in April 2024.
Odisha requires 95,000 EVMs for its about 37,100 polling booths in 147 assembly and 21 Lok Sabha constituencies. This is double the number of EVMs required for holding a single election in the state and the requirement will be met by direct procurement from the manufacturer and other states as mandated by the Election Commission, an official in the CEO's office said.
The new EVMs that arrived will be soon sent to Malkangiri, Koraput, Rayagada, Nabarangpur, Kalahandi, Nuapada, Balangir, Sonepur, Mayurbhanj and Keonjhar districts, he added.
Meanwhile, Odisha's three major political parties - the ruling BJD and opposition BJP and Congress have said that they were prepared to face elections any time.
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