EC satisfied with Odisha's LS & assembly poll preparations

Bhubaneswar, March 11: Expressing satisfaction over Odisha's preparedness for the ensuing Lok Sabha and the state Assembly elections, the Election Commission of India on Monday asked the district authorities to have proper planning in order to ensure free and fair polls in the state.

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"I am completely satisfied over the poll preparedness in Odisha. All possible steps will be taken to ensure a free and fair elections in the state," Deputy Election Commissioner Alok Shukla told reporters after a review meeting.

Odisha will see both parliamentary and assembly elections on April 10 & 17.

The meeting, which was held at the state secretariat, was attended by the district collectors, Superintendents of Police, DIGs, IGs, Revenue Divisional Commissioners and senior officials of the home, excise and income tax departments.

"Our aim is to ensure free and fair elections in the country," Shukla said, adding adequate forces would be provided to the state in view of the Maoist threat and other factors.

Replying to a question, he said the ECI would ensure full security to the candidates in the fray. "We will also take help of the income tax and excise officials to conduct free and fair elections," he said.

Odisha's Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Mona Sharma said besides seeking additional central para-military force for the elections, deployment of choppers has also been sought.

"We have asked the district collectors to give their requirement for chopper use. The choppers will be pressed into service in the remote and vulnerable areas for transportation of personnel," Sharma said. Parliamentary and state Assembly elections are scheduled to be held simultaneously in Odisha in two phases on April 10 and 17.


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