Election Commission of India is entrusted with the duty of holding free and fair elections in India. The Commission has got in place model code of conduct that the political parties have to follow.
The Election Commission has undertaken various means to ensure that during the Tamil Nadu assembly elections 2016 no means are used to induce voters in the state.
Here is the list of all major measures that have been introduced in the state for the upcoming Tamil Nadu Assembly Elections 2016.
- With a view to curb use of black money and likely inducement of Voters in the Assembly Election, 2016 comprehensive instructions have been issued by the Commission, which include formation of flying squads, static surveillance teams, video surveillance teams etc. with involvement of Police and other agencies such as Investigation Directorates of Income Tax Department, Customs etc.
- State Excise Departments and Police authorities have been asked to monitor production, distribution, sale and storage of liquor and other intoxicants during the election process.
- 702 flying squads have been deployed in the state from the date of announcement of the elections i.e. 4th March 2016. 712 Static surveillance teams have also been deployed in all constituencies. Complaints relating to transportation of illegal cash, liquor, narcotics are being monitored round the clock.
- Teams of Special Observers have been deployed in the state to review the preparedness. Further, the number of Expenditure Observers has been increased several times. Probationary Officers of the Indian Police Service will also be deployed in each district to actively participate in Expenditure Monitoring and operation of the Flying Squads.
- The Commission has also directed to mount the campaign for ethical voting and encourage members of political parties, candidates and voters at large to take pledge for ethical voting.
Success achieved by Election Commission:
The notification for General Elections to Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly was issued on 22nd April 2016, and to prevent abuse of money power, the Election Commission of India has taken several proactive steps and has involved different enforcement agencies, including the Investigation Wing of the Income tax Department, which have made elaborate arrangements across the state for taking prompt action including conduct of search and seizure operations.
As per report received from the Chief Electoral Officer, Tamil Nadu, on 22nd April 2016, the Income Tax Investigation Wing in Tamil Nadu carried out search and seizure operations in and around Chennai.
The search based on intelligence developed by the Investigation Wing has resulted in seizure of Rs. 5.2 crore cash (approximately).
The money seized was not related to normal business activity of the group and major part of it is suspected to be linked with hawala operations and was likely to be used in the upcoming election of Tamil Nadu.
On the same day, i.e. 22nd April 2016, based on a tip-off, the Investigation Wing also conducted a search at Karur District in Tamil Nadu and recovered Rs. 4.77 crore in cash.
Goods worth over one crore rupees in the form of dhotis and sarees etc, suspected to be used for inducement of voters, were found in the premise and the same has been placed under restraint.
In addition, the Flying Squad in Coimbatore South Assembly Constituency seized an amount of Rupees 1.35 crore in the morning of 22nd April 2016 from two passengers travelling by an interstate bus, who were carrying the cash without any supporting advance.
Prior to this an amount of Rupees 35.66 Crore had been seized in Tamil Nadu by various expenditure monitoring teams after announcement of elections in March 2016.
Election Commission becomes strict:
The Commission has directed vigilance and monitoring to be stepped up across the state in the run up to the elections and number of such search and seizure actions will be further intensified to curb any such unaccounted money gaining access to the electoral process.
Movement of cash, liquor and gift items will be strictly monitored. Strict action will be taken against persons attempting to induce voters by bribing. The Commission has directed all enforcement agencies in unequivocal terms that they should come down heavily on the offenders in all such cases.
Prejudiced conduct of any member of election expenditure monitoring team will also be viewed very seriously and strict action will be taken against such erring personnel.
The Commission has further strengthened its strategy for dealing with the misuse of money in the elections.
This, inter alia, involve increase in the number of Flying Squads and SSTs, inclusion of officials from the Central Government and Central PSUs in the Flying Squad Teams, deployment of Central Police Forces personnel including in the Flying Squads etc.