New Delhi, Apr.12 : The three-member Election Commission of India (ECI) today announced the deployment of 285 observers for next month's Assembly elections in Karnataka.
Chief Election Commissioner N. Gopalaswami and Election Commissioners Navin Chawla and Dr. S. Y. Quraishi said that of the 285 officers being appointed as observers, 224 would be general observers and 61 expenditure observers.
Observers, who are appointed under Section 20B of the Representation of the Peoples Act, 1951, and play an important role in ensuring free and fair elections.
They act as crucial link between the field and the ECI. These officers remain under the disciplinary control of the ECI till the end of elections.
The ECI said that for micro monitoring and supervision of the polls, one General Observer for each of the 224 assembly constituencies and one Expenditure Observer for a group of four to six constituencies are being deployed in Karnataka.
Each observer will reach the allotted constituencies at least a day before the last day of nomination and stay continuously in the constituencies assigned to them till the end of poll day.
They would have to ensure quick redressal of complaints that are received from political parties/candidates etc, and would supervise the process of election at all stages -- nominations, scrutiny, withdrawal, campaign, poll, counting and declaration of results, the commission said.
They would also be supervising preparation of electronic voting machines, training of polling personnel and conduct of voter 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.
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.
Observers have specifically been asked to tour their respective allotted Assemblyonstituency extensively and build confidence among weaker and disadvantaged sections.
They will constantly review execution of non-bailable warrants, recovery of illicit arms and collection of licensed arms from undesirable elements.
The observers will monitor strictly the enforcement of Model Code of Conduct and have been directed to make sure that extensive videography is done of all critical events that may take place during the election process and pollingt hyper-sensitive/sensitive polling stations.
The Commission has asked all District Election Officers to prepare a comprehensive communication plan in consultation with Observers to ensure proper and effective communication takes place on the day of poll.
The Observers would be assisted by static Micro-Observers who would be deployed inside the polling stations to observe and ensure the purity of the polling process.
Central Government/Public Sector employees would be utilized to the extent possible as Micro-Observers. These Micro-Observers will report to the Observers. The training and orientation of Micro-Observers shall be the responsibility of Observers.
After the poll is over, the Observers as well as Micro-Observers shall be reporting to the Commission in a specific format devised for the purpose.