Assam assembly polls likely before Bihu

Assam assembly polls likely before Bihu

GUWAHATI: Political parties from the state have urged the Election Commission of India (ECI) to hold the state assembly polls keeping the Rongali Bihu festivities and inclement weather in mind.

After concluding its review of the poll preparedness in the state for the last three days, the ECI team on Wednesday addressing the media here said, “Sensitivities about Bihu festival dates will be taken cognizance of and factored in while drawing up the schedule of election dates accordingly. Political Party representatives said that such a schedule would encourage more voter turnout and would help avoid period of monsoon too.”

The ECI informed that it has decided to reduce the maximum number of electors at a polling station from 1500 to 1000.

“Accordingly for Assam, the number of polling stations would go up by about 5000 and likely to be more than 33000 for forthcoming elections,” the ECI said.

The Commission team said that it has put special emphasis on the need for adequate security even at the remote polling stations and deployment of commensurate security personnel.

“Some representatives drew attention of the Commission of deputing Observers from outside the state. Among other issues, some Political Party representatives desired that expenditure limits should be increased too,” it added.

The ECI has also taken cognizance of the concern for misuse of social media by political parties for spreading communal speeches; misuse of government machinery; misuse of money power and covid 19 protocol violations.

As per well established norm, Commission deploys experienced officers as Observers from outside the State in every election after due scrutiny. If required, Special Observers will also be deployed in sensitive/critical constituencies/districts to monitor and ensure that elections are conducted in a totally free and fair manner.

The chief election commissioner Sunil Arora accompanied by election commissioners Sushil Chandra and Rajiv Kumar, along with the team of officers from ECI, conducted an in-depth review of poll preparedness in Assam from January 18.

During the visit, the Commission met with representatives of various political parties and noted their issues and concerns. The Commission reviewed the poll preparedness work of District Election Officers, /SPs/ Commissioner of Police, Divisional Commissioners and IGs and also discussed election preparedness with Chief Secretary, DGP, Home Secretary and other senior Officials of the State.

Commission reviewed overall poll preparedness with Chief Electoral officer, Police Nodal officer and also the CAPF nodal officer. The Commission also met with Nodal officers of Central  and State Regulatory Agencies like Excise Department, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Income Tax, Enforcement Directorate, Railway and Airports authorities, Security agencies like BSF, SSB, State Level Bankers’ Committee etc to review in detail the strategy to curb misuse of money/drugs/liquor & freebies distribution during the election