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CEC directs observers to ensure level-playing field for fair elections

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New Delhi, March 11:  Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Rajiv Kumar on Monday directed observers to ensure a level-playing field for free, fair, and inducement-free elections.

The CEC was speaking during a briefing organised by the Election Commission for over 2150 observers to be deployed in states and Union Territories (UTs) in the run up to the forthcoming general elections to the Lok Sabha and state Legislative Assemblies.

Around 900 general observers, 450 police observers and 800 expenditure observers — drawn from various Central services — are being deployed in the forthcoming elections.

The CEC emphasised that the observers as representatives of the Commission are expected to conduct themselves professionally and be accessible to all stakeholders including candidates. Observers were also instructed to be tough but polite in their conduct on the field.

He asked them to visit the polling stations and familiarise themselves with the geography and take stock of any vulnerabilities and sensitive areas.

Kumar mentioned that the EC has re-drafted all circulars and updated the manuals, handbooks which are available on its website in a searchable and easy to read format.

He added that handbooks and manuals have been prepared on the basis of roles and functions of different officials along with a checklist of Do’s and Don’ts.

During the briefing, all the observers were briefed about the crucial insights so as to sensitise them regarding the EC’s new initiatives and directions.

Observers were directed to be confined physically within the boundaries of the parliamentary constituency they are allotted, during the entire electoral process. GPS tracking has been proposed to be fitted in their vehicle.

The CEC told the observers to always remain available on their phones and e-mails and respond to the calls of candidates, political parties, general public, and personnel on election duties.

Observers were further told to see that central forces and state police forces are being utilised judiciously.

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