New Delhi, Jan 14 (UNI) The Election Commission on Friday organised a briefing meeting for Observers to be deployed for the forthcoming Assembly polls in Goa, Manipur, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.
An official statement said that over 1400 officials attended the sessions, with 140 officials attending it physically at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi and the rest joining it virtually from the states.
Officers drawn from IAS, IPS, IRS and other Services across the country will be deployed as General, Police and Expenditure Observers.
Addressing the Observers, Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra said that the Observers, during elections, are the eyes and ears of the Commission and that they should be totally in command with eagle-eye on issues to ensure the conduct of free, fair, transparent and safe elections.
He advised the Observers to remain updated with all electoral processes, including Postal ballot facility for Absentee Voters in the category of senior citizens, specially-abled voters and Covid-19 suspects or affected persons.
He also asked them to remain vigilant for any lapses in the Model Code of Conduct and other EC guidelines.
While stressing on the Commission’s zero-tolerance towards abuse of money power, the CEC urged the Expenditure Observers to sharpen their skills and be innovative in countering newer methods of inducement.
He asked the Observers to ensure proper publicity of cVIGIL App to empower citizens to report cases of violation to ensure prompt action by Flying Squads and Surveillance teams.
The CEC, during his address, directed that all three Observers (General, Police & Expenditure) should work in coordination with Enforcement Agencies.
He asked the Observers to visit more and more Polling Booths to check for Assured Minimum Facilities to facilitate senior citizens, Persons with Disabilities and women voters.
Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar, meanwhile, cautioned that even stray instances of human errors by polling personnel, non-compliance of Covid-19 protocols even at polling material distribution centers, can create a deviant narrative and derail the smooth conduct of elections.
He asked the Observers to remain vigilant and report any critical incident immediately to the Commission.
Election Commissioner Anup Chandra Pandey, while acknowledging that conducting elections amidst Covid-19 is challenging, exhorted the designated Observers to ensure that level playing field is maintained for all political parties and candidates.
The Election Commission on January 8 announced Assembly elections in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur, which will be held between February 10 and March 7.
The elections in Uttar Pradesh will take place on February 10, 14 , 20, 23, 27, March 3 and 7.
Manipur will go to the polls on February 27 and March 3. Goa, Uttarakhand and Punjab will vote in single phase on February 14.
The counting of votes will be held on March 10.
Notification for the first phase of elections on February 10 was issued on Friday.
UNI AO RJ