ECI to act tough against money misuse during Assam polls

GUWAHATI: The Election Commission of India (ECI) has pledged to act tough against any misuse of money or government machinery during the ensuing Assam Assembly elections.

“The Commission will adopt zero tolerance against any misuse of money or government machinery. In this regard, a specific meeting was held with the enforcement agencies to crack the whip wherever required,” chief election commissioner (CEC), Sunil Arora disclosed before reporters here on Wednesday after winding up a three-day review of the state’s poll preparedness.

According to norms, the commission deploys experienced officers as observers from outside the state in every election after due scrutiny.

“If required, special observers will also be deployed in sensitive/critical constituencies/districts in Assam to monitor and ensure that elections are conducted in a free and fair manner,” Arora said.

Assuring to make the poll process fair, peaceful, transparent and COVID-safe, the CEC said the strategy to curb misuse of money/drugs/liquor and freebies distribution during the election was reviewed with nodal officers of central and state regulatory agencies in detail.

Arora along with election commissioners, Sushil Chandra and Rajiv Kumar, and a team of ECI officers, carried out an in-depth review during a series of meetings with the chief secretary, home secretary and chief electoral officer besides other poll, police/security and district officials from Monday.

Keeping in view the COVID norms of ensuring social distancing, the political representatives desired that the number of polling booths be increased and a list of such auxiliary polling booths also be made available, in time, so that parties can organise their own booth committees and logistics in time.

“Representatives of parties cited the need for adequate security at the remote polling stations while drawing the attention of the commission in regard to deputing observers from outside the state,” Arora said.

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