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Editorial

‘Smart’ indelible ink

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By EMN Updated: Mar 26, 2014 6:13 pm
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[dropcap]D[/dropcap]uplicate voters contemplating on practicing proxy votes had better watch out. They are likely to get their fingers burnt,literally! The warning comes in the wake of NCP chief Sharad Pawar controversial statement asking his supporters to ‘remove the indelible ink’ and vote twice in the coming Lok Sabha election.This evoked a response from the manufacturers of the ink who said it is’nt as easy as that. In fact they said it cannot be done so quickly and those who try to do so with chemicals may end up burning their fingers. The suppliers of the ink who will supply 2.2 million vials (of 10 ml each or 22,000 litres) for the election, say the mark just cannot be “erased”.“If the voters try to remove the ink through any chemical concoction they might end up burning their fingers,” say the producers.
The company, a Karnataka government undertaking, is the sole manufacturer of the indelible ink, popularly known as voter’s ink, which has been used in elections since 1962 to avoid fraudulent or multiple voting and malpractices.
“Once applied the ink mark remains on the finger for a few months, thus preventing the voter from casting his vote again. And no chemical, detergent or oil can remove the ink from the finger since the ink contains silver nitrate, which stains the nail on exposure to ultraviolet light, leaving a mark that is impossible to wash off and fades as new nail-growth occurs.
Perhaps the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief and union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar was not aware of this fact when he remarked to party workers in Mumbai on Sunday that they should vote once in their native place and then a second time in their work place.
When political parties slammed his remark, Pawar backtracked, saying it was made in “jest.” But the Election Commission immediately took note of it.
According to former chief election commissioner N. Gopalaswami, “The ink is very reliable.”
The Bangalore-based company specializes in manufacturing quality indelible ink in association with the Election Commission, the National Physical Laboratory and the National Research Development Corporation (NRDC) and is the sole authorized supplier of this type of ink in India with an exclusive licence granted by the NRDC.
The firm has also been exporting the product to 28 countries across the world since 1976.These include Afghanistan, Turkey, South Africa, Nigeria, Nepal, Ghana, Papua-New Guinea, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Canada, Togo, Sierra Leone, Malaysia, the Maldives and Cambodia.
However, India is the biggest consumer where, the ink is dabbed on with a stick, but the application differs elsewhere.
While in Cambodia and the Maldives voters dip a finger into the ink, in Burkina Faso and Burundi, the ink is applied with a brush.
In Turkey it is applied with nozzles and in Afghanistan with pens.
Whatever the method it will do well for voters with malafide intent to remember that they have been fore warned … and voting twice will cost a burnt finger!

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By EMN Updated: Mar 26, 2014 6:13:02 pm