New Delhi: Ahead of Assembly elections in four states and a Union Territory in March-April, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora on Wednesday warned of strict action against the observers in case of “lax in performing duties”.
The Commissioner said that the Election Commission will take swift action against such election observers, giving them instruction that “willful lapses will not be tolerated”.
“EC (Election Commission of India) will act swiftly and ruthlessly in case anyone is found to be lax in performing their duties. The Commission shall not tolerate any willful lapses,” Arora said while briefing a meeting organised for observers.
These observers to be deployed for the forthcoming general election to the legislative Assemblies of Assam, Kerala, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal for which schedule was announced on February 26.
More than 18 crore voters would be exercising their right of franchise in these elections in which more than 80,000 polling stations have been added.
The CEC further asked the observers to visit the polling booths to check due facilitation to senior citizens, persons with disabilities and women voters to ensure Commission’s commitment to principle of inclusive elections.
More than 1,650 observers participated in the briefing meeting physically and virtually from more than 120 remote locations also.
Officers from IAS, IPS, IRS and other central services have been included to be deployed as General, Police and Expenditure Observers.
Addressing the Observers, Arora further said that they are one of the most important torchbearers of Indian democracy.
The CEC recalled that during his tenure in EC, since September 2017, he has been associated with 14 elections of state Assemblies and also the 2019 Lok Sabha General Elections wherein observers played an important role in the conduct of elections.
Taking note of the exemplary work accomplished by the CEO and DEOs of Bihar despite widespread Covid concerns, Arora said Bihar Assembly elections have literally become a turning point in the history of Indian elections.
“Even the participation of voters was better than the previous Assembly and Parliamentary elections in Bihar.”
Mentioning that observers will have additional role in randomization of forces and its deployment during these elections, the CEC said observers need to ensure proper direction to field-level officers so that ECI’s constitutional mandate is scrupulously fulfilled.
He called upon observers for their active interventions and presence which could enable in building confidence among the voters especially in vulnerable areas and make all efforts to curb money power or vices of liquor and freebies with complete involvement of all the enforcement agencies.
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