The Election Commission of India (ECI) said here today that it would examine the controversial statement made by Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief and Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar about “voting twice” at a recent event.
“The statement (made by Pawar) is under examination. The statement is with us. The matter is being examined with an open mind,” Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) V S Sampath said, responding to a query during a press conference.
However, the CEC did not indicate how long it would take to initiate action based on the statement.
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Replying to a query about a complaint filed by actor Aamir Khan against Aam Aadmi Party for using his picture in its election campaign, Sampath said that the ECI had received his complaint.
“Aamir Khan has clarified that he does not support any particular political party, but the idea of democracy,” he said.
Talking about the relief package provided by Central and state governments to hailstorm affected farmers, he said that relief measures would be implemented by government officials.
“No non-official will be involved in relief work. Officials entrusted with the task will ensure that the relief package reaches its beneficiaries,” Sampath said. He also said that for the first time, the election machinery would distribute voters’ identification slips at the doorsteps of voters.
“Earlier, political parties used to give voters’ identification slips. Now we have undertaken the work of distributing identification slips at voters’ doorsteps,” he said.
Ahead of election preparedness in Maharashtra, Sampath said that the EC held meetings with Maharashtra Chief Secretary J S Saharia, additional home secretary Amitabh Rajan, state Director General of Police Sanjeev Dayal, superintendents of police, senior officials from the state excise department and district collectors, among others.
Sampath also appealed to voters from urban areas to exercise their right to vote. “Urban apathy is mainly responsible for low voting turnouts. We encourage urban voters to come out and vote,” he said. He said that there would be be eleven hours for voters to cast their vote.
“Voters can exercise their right to franchise from 7 am to 6 pm on polling days. This has been done to ensure more voter participation,” he said.