Punjab Chief Electoral Officer S Karuna Raju said that those contesting the upcoming Lok Sabha elections and even the prospective candidates will be given training on the dos and don’ts regarding the polls.
“Many independent candidates are not even aware of the rules and regulations. Moreover, there are many online initiatives which have been taken by the Election Commission of India (ECI). They need to be briefed about all that,” he said.
Though the chief electoral officer has already taken four meetings with political parties of Punjab, this one will be a training for the candidates and the prospective ones. They need to give their names by Monday in the district public relations offices of every district.
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“We have introduced suvidha app as well through which candidates can seek permissions for rally, opening of office, loudspeakers and other issues. Permissions will be given within 24 hours of receiving applications. Our offline system will also function for those who are not tech-savvy and even the ones who don’t have much resources to depute people for seeking permissions. In the training, we will be telling the candidates the details about this app and how to use it,” Karuna Raju told The Indian Express.
“They will also be told in detail about Form- 26, that furnishes information on her assets, liabilities, educational qualifications, criminal antecedents. All the columns have to be filled or otherwise it may lead to rejection of nomination paper. We have to sensitize the candidates as well as parties so as not to give them any chance to say they were not aware of any details.”
In the training, candidates will also be guided about the filling nomination form, EVMs, code of conduct, expenditure guidelines etc. Normally when meetings of political parties are called, many don’t even turn up or some junior workers are sent at times. “Hence this time ECI thought of sensitizing candidates themselves,” he said adding, “Even if a person is not a declared candidate and is still planning to contest, he/she can get training. It will be helpful to the independent candidates who don’t have much resources and they are not much aware of rules and regulations.”
App for differently-abled persons
ECI has also launched an app ‘people with disabilities (PWD)’ for the visually-impaired, locomotive disabled and old-age people. They are being identified by the block level officers (BLOs) in their areas so as to provide assistance on the polling day. Meanwhile, each BLO has been given 150 houses in villages or urban areas so as to gather data well before polling date. In some districts, the staff is even collecting data of pregnant women and lactating women as well so as to allow them to jump the queue if needed while casting vote.