District collectors of the nine districts that are going to rural local body polls on October 6 and 9 will form flying squads led by an officer, not below the rank of an executive magistrate in Tamil Nadu.
This is following a directive of the Tamil Nadu State election commission to enforce a strict election code of conduct.
An official release on Wednesday said that the squads will constitute executive magistrates in the rank of tehsildars and revenue divisional officers. Police personnel would also be in the flying squads.
The election commission has directed the district collectors that these squads must function 24 hours or round the clock monitoring in all the booths and constituencies. Three squads with 8-hour duty will be deployed in a flying squad unit and information has been passed on to all the tehsildars and revenue divisional officers to be prepared to be part of the flying squads.
The responsibility of these flying squads will be to check and act on complaints being lodged from the constituencies regarding violation of code of conduct, intimidation, violence, supply of money, provisions, liquor, etc., to influence the voters.
The flying squads will have the authority to seize a person or a party cadre carrying a sum of Rs 50,000 or more as also any election-related material like banners or posters worth Rs 10,000 above is carried, the release said, The squads can immediately take action against the offenders who are caught with liquor or drugs and weapons in their procession.
An executive magistrate, who will be part of a squad in Chengalpattu district, told IANS, “The flying squad will definitely monitor all the anti-social activities that take place during the run-up to the elections and will take immediate action. A tehsildar in the rank of an executive magistrate is in the squad precisely for taking action. We expect to curtail election-related violence and money and liquor distribution.”