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Civic police to stay out of polling arena, bike rallies banned after MCC comes into effect: ECI

Civic police to stay out of polling arena, bike rallies banned after MCC comes into effect: ECI
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Kolkata: Laying special emphasis on maintaining law and order for ensuring a free and fair poll in the state, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora on Friday announced a slew of measures that includes keeping civic police or green police volunteers out of the polling arena and banning bike rallies as soon as the Model Code of Conduct (MCC) comes into effect.

Reiterating that the Commission will have zero tolerance to money and muscle power and misuse of government machinery, the CEC also promised to take adequate measures for close coordination between the central forces and the state police during the Assembly elections.

"The civic police or the green police has been created by executive action and not by legislative backing. We believe that their presence anywhere in the poll scene could be detrimental towards conductance of free and fair polls. In the meeting with the state Chief Secretary, Home Secretary and the DGP, we have taken a firm assurance that no civic police or green police will be present anywhere near any action related to the polling," Arora said, while addressing a press conference here after meeting political parties and senior administration and police officials over preparations for the state Assembly elections due in a few months.

He also reiterated that there will be a ban on bike rallies by political parties immediately after the MCC coming into effect with the announcement of the Assembly poll dates. "The Commission will bring a notification about a ban on motorbike rallies," he added.

The CEC promised to take adequate measures to maintain close coordination between the central forces and the state police amidst allegations that the central force is often made redundant due to non co-operation from the state police.

"Some political parties have circulated such statements related to lack of coordination. We will bring this matter before the heads of the central agencies in our meetings that will follow and we promise close coordination,"Arora added.

Sources in the Commission said it was working on a mechanism, where the local administration would have to work in close coordination with the commission and central agencies regarding deployment and sharing of responsibility.

Responding to a query on measures taken to prevent political violence the CEC said it has already reviewed the incidents of violence that occurred in the last 6 months, particularly those with political overtones. "The SPs have come up with presentations regarding this and some of them were excellent. When we will be sending observers in the state after the announcement of elections they will be briefed in detail and we will tell them to keep special watch on the areas that have witnessed such incidents," Arora said.

The full bench of the ECI also emphasised the state's Chief Secretary and Home Secretary to be vigilant against issues of fake information or false propaganda in the social media that was flagged off by a number of political parties.

The full bench of the ECI that had reached the city on Wednesday evening held a series of meetings with concerned officials associated with the polls and the political parties before leaving on Friday late afternoon.

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