Vigilant voters keeping EC on toes - Hindustan Times
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Vigilant voters keeping EC on toes

By, Chandigarh
Apr 11, 2024 06:50 AM IST

The poll body has received nearly 1,400 complaints so far with 90% poll violation reports turning true. Drugs, cash etc worth ₹15 crore seized so far, even as during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls total quantity of drugs and cash seized was ₹18 crore

Poll code violations

The mobile application--c-Vigil, acts as the third eye of the Election Commission (EC). (HT File)
The mobile application--c-Vigil, acts as the third eye of the Election Commission (EC). (HT File)

The poll body has received nearly 1,400 complaints so far with 90% of poll violation reports turning true. Drugs, cash etc worth 15 crore seized so far, even as during the 2019 Lok Sabha polls total quantity of drugs and cash seized was 18 crore

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The “c-Vigil”! That’s the latest digital platform where enterprising Haryana citizens are causing waves by reporting violations related to the Lok Sabha poll model code of conduct.

The mobile application--c-Vigil, acts as the third eye of the Election Commission (EC). What is heartening the poll body is the fact that voters of Haryana have been using c-Vigil to the hilt and keeping the EC machinery on its toes by reporting with precision even the serious election code of conduct violations such as supply of liquor and cash.

Ever since the poll code came into effect on March 16 after the EC announced the Lok Sabha election schedule and till April 10, at least 1,396 complaints (over 53 a day) had been lodged on this mobile application in Haryana.

“At least 90% of the complaints received via this third eye in Haryana have turned out correct after verification. It’s a very good trend as majority of the complaints are related to poll code violations,” Anurag Agarwal, chief electoral officer (CEO) of Haryana, told Hindustan Times.

“Public participation through the c-Vigil mobile app is a matter of pride. Appropriate action has been taken in each complaint which was disposed of within the prescribed 100-minute deadline,” he added.

People can report any poll-related malpractice on this easy-to-use app by taking photos/audio/video through this app and their identity remains confidential.

As per the data, 1,100 complaints were about posters or banners pasted and fixed without permission. The reported violations also pertained to misuse of rest houses and speeches.

At least 12 complaints received on this app so far were about the distribution of money and after checking only two complaints were found authentic. Similarly, of the total six liquor distribution complaints two turned out to be true.

The CEO Agarwal said two aspects of this c-Vigil initiative are heartening. “The complaints about banners and posters are turning true. The second important aspect is that complaints regarding money and liquor distribution were found correct to some extent,” Agarwal said pointing out that EC was very pleased as enterprising people of Haryana are coming forward and reporting serious violations like supply of liquor and cash.

The highest 350 complaints were received from Sirsa followed by 300 from Ambala and over 100 from Sonepat.

The flying squads and static surveillance teams have real-time information and teams immediately reach the location from where the complaint is received on the app.

Rise in drug and cash seizure

During over two-month-long 2019 Lok Sabha poll code of conduct, enforcement agencies in Haryana had seized cash, drugs etc worth 18 crore. But this time within a month liquor, drugs and cash seized so far is 15 crore.

According to Haryana CEO Anurag Agarwal, all the recoveries cannot be linked with the electioneering. He, however, admitted that seizures worth 15 crore much before the nomination filing process starting is a matter of concern and surprise as well.

Agarwal said that at least 3.70 crore in cash has been seized so far by different agencies like the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI- 2.78 Crore ), Haryana Police ( 41 lakh) and Income Tax department ( 49 lakh). Police have seized 2 lakh litre illicit liquor worth 3.33 crore, besides drugs the value of which has been pegged at over 5 crore. The IT department has also seized valuables worth over 2 crore and the excise department has seized 2.5 lakh in cash and liquor worth 40 lakh.

VVPAT in all polling stations

The Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines will be placed at every polling station, the Haryana CEO said.

Polling in Haryana will be held on May 25 in what will be the sixth phase of the Lok Sabha election.

Haryana has a total of 19,812 polling stations (6,224 in urban areas and 13,588 in rural areas). The counting of votes will take place on June 4. At least 2,289 polling stations are vulnerable and 63 are critical.

The notification for elections will be issued on April 29, while the deadline for filing nominations is May 6. The scrutiny of nominations will be done on May 7 and candidates can withdraw their nominations until May 9.

The CEO urged citizens to make their voter IDs at the earliest and said the deadline for voter registration is April 26. The eligible individuals can register their vote by filling Form-6 with the concerned BLO, election registration officer and assistant election registration officer.

If a voter’s name is on the voter list but they do not have an Electors Photo Identity Card (EPIC), they can still cast their vote by showing one of the 11 alternative documents specified by the EC, namely passport, driving license, passbook issued by bank or post office with photo, PAN card etc.

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