Manipur: ECI committed to conduct free, fair, accessible and incumbent free election, says CEC

Imphal: Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra on Tuesday reiterated that the Election Commission is committed to conducting the forthcoming elections in a free, fair, accessible, inclusive and inducement-free manner.

The CEC said the commission has zero tolerance towards abuse by money power and misuse of government machinery, and would also not tolerate any mistakes from officers with malafide intentions and who behave in a biased manner. He said the commission had harnessed technology to facilitate empowerment of voters to report violations of Model Code of Conduct (MCC) and abuse of money power by activating the cVIGIL App.

The cVIGIL is a simple, Android-based mobile App and a powerful tool to promptly report unlawful campaigning activities and violation of MCC within minutes of having witnessed them, and without having to rush to the office of the returning officer. Users can also report complaints anonymously and action will be taken within 100 minutes, the CEC assured.

Appreciating the state for promoting gender participation despite obvious logistics challenges, the CEC said at least 487 All-Women Managed Polling Stations (16.4% of the total polling stations) would be set up in the state. This will include women security personnel at many of these polling stations. The initiative had been taken up to provide a comfortable experience to women voters.

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He also informed that five Assembly Constituencies namely 13-Singjamei, 31-Thoubal, 14- Yaiskul, 15- Wangkhei, 58-Churachandpur, will have polling stations managed exclusively by women.

Apart from these, 115 Model Polling Stations will be set up in the state. The Commission has also directed the Chief Electoral Officer and District Election Officers of all electoral districts to ensure availability of Assured Minimum Facilities (AMF) like water, electricity, toilets, ramp at all polling stations, he added.

Stressing on measures taken to make the elections truly accessible, the CEC informed that appropriate facilitation including pick up/drop, wheelchairs, volunteers support and postal ballot facility are being provided to all the mapped PwD and 80+ senior citizen voters in the state.

Webcasting will be arranged in 2,400 out of 2,968 polling stations (over 80%) being set up in the state and the remaining will be covered with offline videography to ensure smooth conduct of election, he added.

The Chief Election Commissioner further asserted that a new initiative for facilitating Absentee voters by way of Postal ballot facility, for Sr citizens, Covid-19 suspects or affected persons and persons related to notified Essential Services, is being provided.

The CEC said he was delighted on learning that the state has 749 centenarian voters with Senapati district having the maximum number of centenarian voters i.e 110 and added that he had directed to CEO/DEOs to felicitate such centenarian voters who can act as role models for the youngsters.

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Speaking on the importance of publishing criminal antecedents, the CEC stressed that candidates having criminal antecedent (whether independent or sponsored by a political party) and political parties sponsoring such candidates are required to publish detailed information including their criminal antecedents.

The CEC continued that for informed and ethical voting, the Commission had launched ‘Know Your Candidate’ mobile application which will have all details of the candidates including their criminal antecedents, if any.

The CEC said so far seizures worth Rs 97.6 crore have been made in the state, including Rs 1.48 crore in cash, liquor worth Rs 40 lakh, Narcotics worth Rs 81.5 crore, freebies and gold worth Rs 14.2 crore, since the announcement of elections.

The Press Conference was attended by Election Commissioners Rajiv Kumar, Anup Chandra Pandey, Chief Electoral Officer, Manipur Rajesh Agrawal, Deputy Election Commissioners Nitesh Vyas, T Sreekanth and Director General, ECI Sheyphali B. Sharan among others.      

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