Ahead of the Himachal Pradesh Assembly elections, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Maneesh Garg said on Monday that the Election Department has made elaborate arrangements to ensure effective implementation of Model Code of Conduct (MCC) guidelines and any violation would be strictly dealt with.
The Assembly elections are scheduled to be held in a single phase on 12 November and counting of votes will take place on 8 December.
In compliance with the instructions issued by the Election Commission of India (ECI), the Election Department is taking swift, effective and stringent action for enforcement of MCC during the first 72 hours of announcement of election schedule, besides maintaining extra vigil and strict enforcement of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), he added.
“Taking swift action in the matter of the defacement of public property and misuse of public space, total 30369 hoardings, posters, banners and flags and wall writings have been removed in all the districts within 48 hours of announcement of elections,” he said.
Giving the details of steps taken to ensure free and fair elections, the CEO said hoardings, posters, banners and flags and wall writings numbering 3,439 in Chamba, 4,338 in Kangra, 498 in Lahaul-Spiti, 875 in Kullu, 3,319 in Mandi, 1,693 in Hamirpur, 6,679 in Una, 698 in Bilaspur, 1,302 in Solan, 3,473 in Sirmaur, 3,782 in Shimla and 273 in the Kinnaur district have been removed.
Also, strict directions have been given to all departments regarding their websites not to have any photographs of political functionaries and compliance is being ensured, he said, adding that 126 websites of government departments/boards/
Garg further said that control room-cum-complaint cell has been set up and to ensure fair and inducement free elections in the state, flying squads and static surveillance teams have been constituted in the state to keep vigil over excessive campaign expenses, distribution of items of bribe in cash or kind, movement of illegal arms, ammunition, liquor or anti-social elements in the Assembly Constituencies (ACs) in the state.
The Income Tax Department has set up 24×7 Centralized Control Room-cum-Complaint Monitoring Cell in their office at Shimla having toll free number 1800-180-8089 to keep a strict vigil to curb the use of black money during the election process.
The Excise Department has also set up a 24X7 control room having toll-free number 1800-180-8062, where complaints related to excise violations can be directly lodged.