Election Commission has zero tolerance towards misuse of govt machinery, money power: CEC Sushil Chandra

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CEC, Manipur polls 2022, Sushil Chandra, Election Commission, money power

Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sushil Chandra said here on Tuesday that the poll panel had zero tolerance towards misuse of government machinery and abuse of money power as he reviewed the preparedness for Manipur elections, scheduled to be held in two phases on February 27 and March 3. Chandra, who is here with his team on a two-day visit, also stated that polling officials found to have malafide intention or bias of any kind would be taken to task.

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Addressing a press meet, he said that voters could report violations of Model Code of Conduct on the Election Commission’s cVIGIL App.

Lauding the state’s efforts to promote gender parity despite logistics challenges, the CEC said that 16.4 per cent of all polling stations in Manipur would be managed by women.

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Five Assembly constituencies — Singjamei, Thoubal, Yaiskul, Wangkhei and Churachandpur — would have its booths managed exclusively by women, he stated.

Webcasting would be arranged in 2,400 out of 2,968 polling stations in the state, and the remaining would be covered with offline video recordings to ensure free and fair election, he maintained.

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Chandra also said that senior citizens, COVID-19 patients and people engaged in essential services would be able to cast their votes using the postal ballot facility.

Noting that the state had 300 low-turnout pockets, he said that the commission directed the election officials to prioritise these areas for targeted SVEEP (Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation) interventions.

The CEC underlined that candidates having criminal antecedent and political parties sponsoring such candidates are required to publish detailed information about them.

It is also mandatory for political parties to publicise in newspapers and social media detailed information about nominees with pending criminal cases, along with the reason for such selection, he pointed out.

On COVID-19 protocols and vaccination status, Chandra said that all polling officials and police personnel involved in election-related work would have to be fully inoculated.

Precautionary doses were being administered to eligible polling personnel, he said.

The CEC noted that district officers and enforcement agency officials had been given instructions to monitor expenditure-sensitive constituencies and ensure comprehensive and coordinated actions.

Seizures worth Rs 97.6 crore have been made in the state – including narcotics worth Rs 81.5 crore and freebies and gold worth 14.2 crore – since the announcement of election schedule.

The EC team, earlier in the day, met delegates of All Manipur Christian Organisation (AMCO), who requested the poll panel to change the first date of election as people might miss out on Sunday mass.

Chandra gave them assurance that the matter would be taken up for consideration when the team goes back to Delhi

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