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Election Commission assures zero tolerance against ‘money and muscle power’

The ECI has also conveyed its concern on the low vaccination rate to the state Chief Secretary and asked to expedite the same.

Statesman News Service | New Delhi |

Election Commission will have zero tolerance on ‘excessive use of money and other inducements to influence voters’ said Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra here on Wednesday during a marathon meeting held specially to review the poll preparedness for the forthcoming assembly poll in Manipur where the assembly term is due to expire on March 19.

The Chief Election Commissioner along with the other two Election Commissioner’s Rajiv Kumar Anup Chandra Pandey today held a virtual meeting with the representatives of state political parties and assured that the commission would address all their grievances.

Responding to the concerns raised by various political parties on money and muscle power, the CEC told the political parties that ECI was committed to conduct free, fair, participative, inclusive, inducement free and COVID safe elections in the state.

The CEC said strict action would be taken against erring officials who were found to be indulging in partisan behavior of state machinery. ECI would deploy Expenditure Observers for a strict vigil to ensure inducement-free elections in the State.

The ECI would promote ECI’s cVIGIL App mechanism for registering complaints for prompt redressal of Model Code of Conduct violations and ensure measures like webcasting, videography, deployment CAPF personnel, and Micro Observers wherever necessary in identified vulnerable polling areas.

During the review meeting, the Commission also emphasized focus on the conduct of safe elections with 100% vaccination of all polling staff, proper sanitisation, and social distancing at the polling stations.

The ECI has also conveyed its concern on the low vaccination rate to the state Chief Secretary and asked to expedite the same. Keeping in view Covid’s social-distancing norms, the Commission has specifically revisited some extant norms. As a result, the maximum number of electors’ norm at a polling station has been reduced from 1500 to 1250, the Commission said.

The ECI further directed the state government to ensure that distribution of liquor, drugs, freebies, and cash is effectively checked and the electoral process is not vitiated with unlawful activities. CEC also directed for the strict vigil on the international border to ensure no unlawful transit and infiltration across borders, stated a senior officer of the Election Commission.