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Lok Sabha elections: ‘Paramilitary forces will be deployed with central supervision’

Arora said the EC has sent suggestions to curb hate speech on social media. “A committee was appointed under Umesh Sinha, Deputy Election Commissioner.

Don’t make EC part of political brinkmanship, says CEC Sunil Arora Arora said the EC has sent suggestions to curb hate speech on social media. (PTI)

The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Friday gave its assurance that central forces will be deployed for Lok Sabha polls in the state under the supervision of central police observers.

The Commission also said it will take swift action if the state government does not take steps to control poll violence. After holding meetings with political parties, the government and the police, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora said, “The deployment of central armed paramilitary forces (CAPF) is done under the observation of police observers who are not from West Bengal. They come from outside. However, we will further strengthen the system.”

On reducing poll violence, Arora said, “They (the state government) have to take all-out steps to control poll violence…We have told them clearly that if there is a bona fide by anybody, which has been established by proper inquiry, we will take swift and demonstrative action.”
The ECI has asked all district magistrates and police superintendents to look into law and order and stressed on swift execution of non-bailable warrants and pending cases of electoral offences from previous polls.

Meanwhile, Arora said the EC has sent suggestions to curb hate speech on social media. “A committee was appointed under Umesh Sinha, Deputy Election Commissioner. They held extensive consultation with all stakeholders and submitted a report. The Commission has discussed the report and sent some (suggestions for) amendments to Section 126 Representation of the People’s Act to the Ministry of Law and Justice. Some action will be taken soon,” he said.

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The CEC once again ruled out going back to a ballot paper system. “EVMs have been in use for more than two decades. It has been a consistent policy of the ECI for quite some time and I think it will remain the same,” he said. Arora was responding to queries on demands by Opposition parties to go back to ballot papers. “Parties have a right to make their feedback and apprehensions known because they’re the biggest stakeholders after the voters. But we’re not going to the days of ballot papers being snatched, muscle power being used for that (and) inordinate delays in counting,” he said.

The CEC also pointed out the difference between EVM tampering and malfunctioning. “We’ve been using the words very loosely as if they are synonymous. Tampering and malfunctioning are two different things. The commission has zero tolerance for malfunctioning. We’re constantly trying to upgrade EVMs and make them foolproof.”

First published on: 02-02-2019 at 03:05:34 am
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