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CEC to review preparedness for TN assembly poll on Mar 28, 29

Written by: Staff

Chennai, Mar 25 (UNI) Chief Election Commissioner B B Tandon will review preparedness for the May 8 Assembly elections in Tamil Nadu on March 28 and 29, State Chief Electoral Officer Naresh Gupta said today.

He said Mr Tandon, accompanied by Election Commissioners N Gopalaswami and Navin Chawla, would also undertake a similar review programme in Pondicherry on March 27.

He said the full Elecion Commission would have a meeting with representatives of recognised political parties on March 28, followed by a meeting with District Election Officers and police officers.

The EC team would also hold discussions with Chief Secretary, Home Secretary and the Director General of Police on March 29.

Mr Gupta said the Commission would review the progress in Electors Photo Identity Card (EPIC) programme and discuss the appointment of Returning Officers, Assistant Returning Officers and other polling personnel, identification of sensitive polling stations, implementation of the Model Code of Conduct, procurement of polling materials, including checking of EVMs.

The EC would also discuss the law and order situation, including incidents after announcement of elections, restrictions on possession of arms/weapons, action against anti-social elements, execution of non-bailable warrants and arrangements for the elections.

Stating that the EC was acting tough in every state that go to polls, Mr Gupta said the Commission was concerned about Tamil Nadu and was monitoring the state very closely. About 50 to 60 poll-related complaints were being received every day, he added. On the complaint that some associations of government employees had taken a political stand in the election, he said, ''We are seized of the matter. We are going to deal with it in some way.''

Mr Gupta said the EC would not permit more than three vehicles for election campaign. It had also directed that only a maximum of three vehicles should be allowed within 100 mt distance of the offices of ROs and AROs. At the time of filing nomination, candidates could be accompanied by proposers as prescribed by law and four other individuals. The vehicles used at the time of filing of nomination, would be taken into account of the candidate's expenditure, he said.

The CEO said one General Observer per constituency and two Expenditure Observers per district, would closely monitor political parties' compliance of the Model Code. The candidates were required to show their expenditure account to observers once in three days, he added.

Stating that major political parties like the AIADMK and the DMK had made representations to the EC on relaxation of the restriction imposed on wall writing, he cited Sec 4-A(1) of the Tamil Nadu Open Places Prevention of Disfigurement Act, 1959, which prohibited wall writing.

Mr Gupta said EC had instructed all Presiding Officers to close the EVMs by pressing 'close button' at the end of poll in the presence of polling agents to avoid manipulation and also draw a line after the entry in Form 17A and obtain the signatures of polling agents.

In pursuance of a Supreme Court order, the EC had issued instructions that use of public address system or loudspeaker or any sound amplifier would be prohibited between 2200hrs and 0600 hrs.

The EC had also appealed to all recognised national and state political parties to avoid the use of plastic/polythene for preparation of posters and banners during the campaign, he added.


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