Calling muscle power, bribes and paid news the three major challenges in the upcoming assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has directed the District Election Officers (DEOs) and police officers to remain impartial and ensure a level playing field for all political parties and candidates.
A team of EC officials led by Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha Thursday gave directives to DEOs and SSP/SPs during a meeting through video-conferencing regarding preparations for the polls. EC’s principal secretary RK Srivastava, secretary Sumit Mukherjee and the state’s chief electoral officer T Venkatesh were present.
EC officials directed district election authorities to start vulnerability mapping of polling stations and identify anti-social elements who could influence voters. Officials have also been directed to identify people who are prone to get influenced by such elements or use of muscle and money power.
Sinha said that central forces will be deployed while web casting and CCTV cameras will be also be used to keep a check. He added that ample arrangements will be made to prevent the misuse of money during the elections. Interactive sessions will be organised with representatives, political parties and candidates to update them about guidelines to prevent paid news. Pre-certification of advertisements in media could also be initiated to check paid news.
“The full commission led by Chief Election Commissioner Dr Nasim Zaidi will visit Uttar Pradesh soon to review complete preparations of the assembly polls,” Sinha added.
For deployment of the police, randomisation will be done online. Digital maps of all the assembly constituencies and polling stations will be prepared which election officials can use for better planning and monitoring while voters can use the facility to find the location of polling booths.
EC officials directed district authorities to form booth-level awareness groups which will include government employees and civil societies’ members. Their job will be to identify problems of the voters and motivate others to vote. They will also provide feedback to election officers regarding problems encountered by voters.
To increase voter turnout, a ‘Voter’s Guide’ will be distributed to every family. Auxiliary polling stations will be set up at blind schools and leprosy centres. District authorities have been directed to make various such arrangements to facilitate voting of ‘Divyangs’ (differently abled people) and senior citizens.
Sinha said that district officials have been directed to make the electoral roll error free and ensure that all eligible citizens are included in the voters list.