ECI directs Nagaland govt to ensure peaceful elections

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Kohima, Feb 2 (UNI) The Election Commission has directed the Nagaland government to ensure that there were no incidents of pre-poll violence or proxy voting during the March 5 Assembly elections.

Addressing a press conference here yesterday, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) N Gopalaswami, along with Election Commissioners Dr S Y Quraishi, Navin B Chawla and Deputy Election Commissioner Jai Prakash, who are presently on a visit to the state, told newspersons that any pre-poll clashes or intimidation will be prevented.

The CEC also stressed the need for the district administrations and law enforcement authorities to step up their intelligence network and take all possible preventive measures in time to thwart any possible violence.

Expressing concern over the practice of proxy voting, the CEC said proxy voting was illegal and should not be allowed. He emphasised the need for the administration to raise public awareness on the same.

The Commission, referring to some news items published by the media, expressed its happiness over church organisations coming out strongly against proxy voting.

Mr Gopalaswami warned that the electronic voting machines (EVMS) to be used in the March 5 elections were of the latest technology with a memory storage capacity of five years.

The EVM could also detect whether it was being punched or used by one or two persons alone for the whole village or in polling booths, he informed.

On deployment of additional security forces, the CEC said assessment was done on various levels and 150 additional companies of para-military forces had been sanctioned for Nagaland against its demand of 180 companies.

Regarding photo identity cards, he admitted that it had not been successful in Nagaland with only 45 per cent of voters covered.

UNI AS DPM RD SY VC1145

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