The Election Commission of India will take a zero tolerance approach to any form of inducements being offered by politicians and political parties to voters at the upcoming state election.
This was stated by Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar while briefing the media here today.
A team comprising the CEC and Election Commissioners Anup Chandra Pandey and Arun Goel was on a two-day visit to Shillong to review preparedness for the Assembly polls. The ECI team held a meeting with all political parties and later with district and state officials yesterday.
There are some 21.61 lakh eligible electors, with registered women outnumbering men 1,022 to 1,000. A total of 3,482 polling stations will be set up in the 60 constituencies, with 620 being the average number of voters per polling station.
Special arrangements will also be made to make it easier for the elderly and people with disabilities to vote, including a pick up and drop facility and home voting for those above 80 years.
There are 7,478 disabled voters in Meghalaya and 22,658 electors who are 80-plus, with 290 of these being 100 or more. The ECI has written to them individually to facilitate them and to pay their respects to them.
Another 60 ‘model polling stations’ will be set up with a focus on eco-friendly booths while two polling stations per constituency will be managed completely by women officials, including security staff.
Kumar further said that the commission has a policy of zero tolerance towards misuse of money power and muscle power and has directed all enforcement agencies to coordinate their action and not work in silos to ensure that all efforts to induce voters are stamped out. The public can report instances of electoral malpractice to the ECI through the Cvigil app.
“Wherever you are, wherever the complainant is, from latitude and longitude will be captured automatically so that we know the location where this is happening. And in 100 minutes our teams will reach, check it and come back to the complainant on the status,” explained Kumar.
The app has been in use nationwide for the past two years and members of the public have helped the ECI in tackling problems like cash distribution, defacement of posters, liquor distribution, political brawls, etc.
A detailed meeting with enforcement agencies, the state police, excise and tax officials, intelligence, Border Security Force, airport authorities and the Reserve Bank of India was also held earlier. The purpose of the meeting was to ensure that all officials come together and create a situation and an environment that ensures that elections are inducement-free.
“All these directions have been given and we are sure and we are committed that the election will be peaceful, transparent and inducement-free,” Kumar said.