Chandigarh, December 16, 2021 (Yes Punjab News)
CEC Sushil Chandra who was on a two-day tour of poll-bound Punjab today along with the members and important functionaries of ECI, Thursday briefed about the conduct of 2022 Vidhan Sabha Elections in the state.
He made some important announcements and briefed about certain guidelines in this regard which are as under:
The term of State Assembly in Punjab is due to expire on 27 March 2022. Elections are scheduled for 117 ACs (83 Gen ACs; 34 SC and no ST AC) in the State.
Election Commission of India is committed to conduct the forthcoming elections in a free, fair and Inducement free manner. Our endeavor is to achieve maximum participation of all voters including new voters, women, Persons with Disabilities and senior citizens.
During this visit on 15th and 16th December 2021, the Commission met with representatives of National and State level political parties. The Commission has taken cognizance of issues and concerns raised by them.
After meeting the political parties, the Commission reviewed overall poll preparedness with the District Election Officers- cum Deputy Commissioners and CPs/SSPs of all the 23 districts as also the Chief Electoral officer, State Level Police Nodal Officer and the CAPF Nodal Officer as also the Health department nodal officers.
The Commission also met with Nodal officers of enforcement Agencies
The Commission discussed the administrative support, budget and election related arrangements with the Chief Secretary, DGP, Home Secretary, Secretary Finance, Secretary Health and other senior officials of the State.
Keeping in view Covid 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 1200.
To make elections more accessible, the Commission has directed that all polling stations shall be located on the ground floor with Assured Minimum Facilities like drinking water facility, toilets, ramps, wheelchair, electricity, volunteers, shades, help desks, etc.
As part of the Commission’s initiative to provide a comfortable experience to women voters, at least 165 All-Women Managed Polling Stations will be set up in the state which will have all women polling staff including women security personnel.
As a measure of boosting the confidence of our PwD voters, this time at least 56 polling stations would be set up in the State that would be exclusively managed by Persons with Disabilities.
The Commission has already issued guidelines regarding Postal ballots by Absentee Voters in the category of Sr citizens, PwD electors and Covid-19 suspects or affected persons. The Commission during the review meeting directed all DEOs to carry out a focussed drive to enroll all eligible PwD voters.
The Commission has zero tolerance towards abuse of money power or government machinery. The District Officers have been instructed to monitor expenditure sensitive Constituencies and ensure comprehensive, coordinated actions. Conducting Inducement free & ethical elections is of prime importance for the Election Commission of India.The enforcement agencies have been asked to step up their vigil to ensure that inter state and cross border movement of drugs, liquor and cash is effectively checked.
The Commission has reviewed the concerns cited about law and order situation with the District Magistrates and Police Officers. Concerned officials have been directed to ensure speedy execution of Non Bailable Warrants (NBWs); and speedy disposal of pending cases of the electoral offenses from last elections.
Vulnerable constituencies have been identified. Adequate CAPF deployment will be ensured so that no one is able to unduly influence the Voters or intimidate them.
Among other measures to ensure ethical elections, emphasis is also given on mandatory publicity of Criminal antecedents. As reiterated by Commission, instructions have been issued that candidates will have to advertise thrice in newspapers and TV Channels during Campaign period. Now, it is also mandatory for political parties to publicize in the newspaper, social media and upload on their website detailed information regarding individuals with pending criminal cases selected as candidates, along with reason for such selection, as also why other individuals without criminal antecedents. could not be selected as candidates.
Adequate CAPF and experienced observers would be deputed to oversee smooth conduct of free and fair elections in the state.
Elections are literally the festival of Democracy. We hope all electors will participate wholeheartedly. I would urge the political party representatives and citizens to extend their cooperation in ensuring free and fair elections.
The Commission has always considered the media to be an important stakeholder as well in the electoral process. media organizations should help spread the awareness about ethical voting and instill the sense of duty in every eligible citizen to make full use of their right to vote.