EC may need additional forces at some placeshttps://indianexpress.com/article/news-archive/web/ec-may-need-additional-forces-at-some-places/

EC may need additional forces at some places

The Election Commission on Sunday said that it may require additional forces to conduct the election process at certain places......

The Election Commission on Sunday said that it may require additional forces to conduct the election process at certain places.

“About IPL,I don’t want to say anything. We are not concerned about the IPL. We are concerned about what we get (Central forces for the elections),” Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswami said,when asked if adequate security forces were being made available for the elections,especially in view of the IPL matches.

The CEC said though the availability of forces was less in this time as compared to the 2004 parliamentary polls,the deployment in the field was more as against the last elections. “We have some concern. We have had one round of talks. We hope to have another round,” Gopalaswami said. The commission has toured Uttar Pradesh,Bihar,Chhattisgarh,Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu and feels that more forces may be needed for the polls.

Gopalaswami said that “nearly 2,500 observers would oversee the election process and they have been told to carry out vulnerability mapping,excellent communication planning,use micro observers at critical polling stations and do video and digital coverage to track candidates with criminal record”.

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“We have specifically told them to track surrogate ads,advertisements masquerading as news items,mass weddings,birthday parties and mass-feeding sessions,” he said. A select group of senior revenue officials would be deputed to the commission for about two months to scrutinise the election expenses of candidates,Gopalaswami said. He said that the vulnerability mapping concept was different from the mapping of sensitive and hyper sensitive polling booths.

While the sensitive and hyper sensitive booths could witness booth capturing and violence,there could be a situation of “silent intimidation” of voters from exercising their franchise,he said. The vulnerability mapping exercise was successfully implemented in some of the constituencies in the last Uttar Pradesh Assembly polls and thereafter it became regular,he said,adding that the EC would fine-tune the arrangements.