Bhubaneswar, Apr 2 UNI | 4 months ago

Election Commissioner of India H S Brahma today assured the political parties that the commission would verify the allegations of partiality made against three district collectors of Odisha by various political parties in conducting the elections on April 10.

Talking to mediapersons here today after reviewing the poll preparedness for the coming elections in the state, Mr Brahma assured to take action against the collectors if they were found guilty during investigation. He said during interaction with political parties the representatives of as many as four to five political parties told the commission that the Collectors of three districts including Khurda were not discharging their duties impartially. They wanted the commission to instruct them to act impartially and without bias. Despite repeated request by the journalist Mr Brahma refused to name the Collectors of two other districts. Mr Brahma along with his colleague Dr Syed Nasim Ahmed Zaidi and some senior officials of the Election arrived here today to review the poll preparedness for the coming elections. The political parties also requested to prevent any manipulations and conduct the election in a free and fair way.

Replying to a question, Mr Brahma said not a single political party raised doubt about the possibility of manipulation of the EVM during the elections.

Mr Brahma said the Commission had ordered not to engage the Bharat Nirman Sevak volunteers for any election activity after some political parties alleged that they were being used for campaigning for the ruling party.

He said the Commission had instructed all the district Collectors to immediately open single window system to dispose of the request of political parties for organising rallies, processions and meetings within 24 hours.

Mr Brahma said adequate security arrangement will be made for the smooth conduct of the elections in the extremists dominated districts bordering Andhra Pradesh, Jharkhand and Chhatisgarh.

He said the Commission would see that no body is deprived of exercising his or her franchise due to threat and intimidation after he was told that voters in around 100 villages in Naxal dominated areas have decided to boycott the poll due to threat by the extremists. Mr Brahma said the Commission has for the first time introduced voters education programme this time to increase voters participation

Arrangement were also made for providing basic minimum facilities at the polling booths, regulate the social media, and posters urging people for ethical voting. He said Village Awareness Groups would be formed in the villages comprising of social workers, journalists, NGO, retired officers to keep a watch on the expenditure of candidates. Expenditure Observer Prasanna Das said a bank account with the maximum expenditure limit of Rs 28 lakh for Assembly and Rs 70 lakh for Parliamentary Constituency would be opened in the name of candidates and it would be regularly checked.

The vehicles of the police, press and medical services would be checked to ensure that they were not being used for carrying cash or for other wrong things to ensure a free and fair election.

(Posted on 02-04-2014)