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EC bans bike rallies in poll-going seats 72 hours before voting day

Kolkata: The Election Commission (EC) on Monday issued orders putting a ban on bike rallies at any place 72 hours before the date of poll and on the election day in all poll-going constituencies in the state. The Commission sent directions regarding the ban to the Chief Electoral Officers of all poll-bound states including Bengal and union territory of Puducherry.

"It has been brought to the notice of the Commission that in some places bikes are used by some anti-social elements to intimidate the voters before the poll day and on poll day," the Commission's directive reads.

The commission has asked the CEOs' to inform all the stake holders including the political parties who have fielded candidates to contest the elections. According to Commission sources, the Kolkata Police has been asked to set up facilitation centres for postal ballots and video graph the entire process of the poll through postal ballots.

Apart from service voters, the Commission has made arrangements for 80 plus voters and persons with disabilities to cast their votes through postal ballots from their respective residences. According to sources, Special Police Observer Vivek Dubey in his meeting with Kolkata Police Commissioner Soumen Mitra on Sunday has asked the latter to preserve the video footage in connection with the postal ballots. The full bench of the ECI led by Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora will be reaching Siliguri on Tuesday and hold a series of meetings to assess poll preparedness in North Bengal.

The bench will hold a meet with state CEO (Chief Electoral Officer) Ariz Aftab and then will hold meeting with the DEOs (District Election Officer) and police top brass of all the eight districts in North Bengal — viz Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, Cooch Behar, Alipurduar, Kalimpong, South Dinajpur, North Dinajpur and Malda. The observers of these districts will also be present during the meeting. On March 24, the full bench will hold a press conference before leaving for Delhi.

The EC will also deploy 11,415 state police personnel for first phase of polls on March 27. District police superintendents have been asked to complete the police deployment process by 7pm on March 23.

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