ECI issues ‘zero tolerance’ directive to Bengal DMs, police for Lok Sabha polls | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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ECI issues ‘zero tolerance’ directive to Bengal bureaucracy, police for Lok Sabha polls

Mar 05, 2024 03:46 PM IST

Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar said strict instructions have been issued to the W est Bengal bureaucracy to ensure a level playing field.

The Election Commission of India (ECI) has issued a set of stringent directives to the West Bengal bureaucracy in view of the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. The district magistrates (DMs) and superintendents of police (SPs) have been instructed to maintain absolute impartiality, transparency, and accessibility to all parties equally, ensuring a fair electoral process.

Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar addresses a press conference on poll preparedness for the upcoming Lok Sabha election, in Kolkata, Tuesday, March 5, 2024.(PTI)
Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar addresses a press conference on poll preparedness for the upcoming Lok Sabha election, in Kolkata, Tuesday, March 5, 2024.(PTI)

Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar on Tuesday asserted that any form of violence, intimidation, or threats to voters and candidates will not be tolerated during the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

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"There is no place for fear or intimidation in elections. Any partisan approach to the bureaucracy will not be tolerated; we have made this clear. There is absolutely no tolerance for any form of violence in this celebration of democracy," he told a press briefing in Kolkata.

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Kumar said a sufficient number of central forces will be deployed in West Bengal, and it will be done in an “impartial manner”.

Adequate deployment of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) in consultation with District Election Officers (DEO), SPs/Commissioners of Police (CP), and general observers has been mandated to sensitive areas in advance to build confidence among voters, as per the directives issued by the Election Commission.

"The CAPF deployment plan must be shared with political parties during weekly meetings," Kumar said.

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The ECI stressed that observers – details of whom will be made public to ensure transparency – must actively visit polling booths, interact with polling agents, and promptly address any irregularities.

Voters on election duty have been directed to cast their postal ballots at Voter Facilitation Centers, with timely distribution of Voter Information Slips (VIS) and random checks to prevent any irregularities.

The poll panel said that strict measures will be taken against cases of impersonation and "Chappa Voters," with immediate legal action against impersonators.

DMs and SPs have been tasked with responding appropriately to all grievances and complaints raised by political parties.

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The ECI has also prohibited the deployment of civil volunteers and contractual staff for election duties or law and order maintenance, directly or indirectly.

A district-level social media cell will be established to counter fake news and respond to misinformation in real time.

Kumar urged state and district administrations to ensure transparency in granting permissions to parties for ground and meeting places for campaigning based on a "First In First Out" principle.

The full bench of the Election Commission (EC) was in the metropolis for the last two days holding meetings with representatives of political parties, and would later meet government officials to discuss preparations for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal.

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