EC issues guidelines for observers during Guj elections

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New Delhi, Nov 17 (UNI) The Election Commission (EC) has decided to depute one General Observer per assembly constituency and one Expenditure Observer for every three to five constituencies during the Gujarat assembly elections.

In Himachal Pradesh, the total numbers of General and Expenditure Observers are 30 and 10 respectively.

The EC Observers will reach the alloted constituencies at least one day before the last day of nomination and stay continuously in the constituencies assigned to them till the end of poll day. This would ensure immediate redressal of complaints that are received from various political parties/candidates.

The Commission said during the first visit, they will supervise the processes of nominations, scrutiny, withdrawal, campaign and poll. They would also be supervising preparation of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), training of polling personnel and conduct of voters awareness programmes. All Observers have been asked to look into deployment plan of forces in the constituency. They will also be critically examining classification of hypersensitive and sensitive polling stations and monitor the process of vulnerability mapping to identify the segments vulnerable for threat and intimidation.

During second visit, all observers will monitor counting and declaration of results.

The Commission has also decided that during the elections, the maximum number of vehicles that will be allowed to come within the periphery of 100m of Returning officers/Assistant Returning officers (RO/ARO) shall be three and maximum number of people that will be allowed to enter the office of RO/ARO at the time of filing nominations shall be the candidate plus four other individuals which may include any proposer/proposers proposing the nomination of the candidate.

The observers have been asked to make sure that the affidavits that are filed by the candidates at the time of nomination detailing their movable/immovable assets, qualifications, convictions, cases pending in courts are displayed prominently and made available for public scrutiny without any loss of time.

They have specifically been asked to tour their respective alloted assembly constituency extensively and build confidence among the weaker and disadvantaged sections. They will constantly review execution of non-bailable warrants, recovery of illicit arms and collection of licensed arms from undersirable elements. The observers will monitor strictly the enforcement of Model Code of Conduct (MCC).

During the forth coming elections, no videography or photography will be allowed inside the polling stations except in cases where the same are orders by the commission/observers as per order of the Supreme Court without compromising the secrecy of voting which has to be maintained at all costs. They have been asked to ensure that extensive videography is done of all critical events that may take place during the election process and polling at hyper-sensitive /sensitive polling stations.

During these elections, central government employees will be engaged for poll duty to the extent possible.

The observers have also been asked to ensure that all those officers who stand transferred were physically moved out frm the constituency.

The commission has asked all District Election Officers (DEO) to prepare a comprehensive communication plan in consultation with observers to ensure proper effective communication take place on the day of poll.

In the cases where start of poll has been delayed for over two hours for any reason, a repoll should be recommended. The expenditure observers were asked to monitor the expenditure closely and check the accounts submitted by candidates regularly. The accounts periodically by the candidates shall be displayed by the RO prominently.

UNI

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