CEC in Nagaland, says progress made since call by Naga outfits
Kohima: Chief Election Commissioner O P Rawat on Thursday led a top-level team to review election preparedness in Nagaland and directed state and district level officials to be "fearless and unbiased" to ensure fair voting during February 27 assembly polls.
The CEC pointed out that since the first visit in November last year, things have improved though there was some dampener due to a call by Naga tribal organisations to find a solution to the insurgency issue before the elections.
But, after reviewing with all the district election officers , the Commission is satisfied that a lot of progress has been made, Rawat told reporters.
Rawat was accompanied by two Election Commissioners - Sunil Arora and Ashok Lavasa , Deputy EC Sudeep Jain, two Director Generals - Dilip Sharma and Direndra Ojha, and Principal Secretary Narendra N Butolia at the review meeting for the state polls.
Out of the 60 seats, voting will take place on 59 seats as NDPP chief Neiphiu Rio has been declared elected unopposed from 11-Northern Angami-II Assembly Constituency.
Rawat said that during the visit, they met representatives of various political parties to understand their issues and concerns for holding free fair and peaceful elections.
He said most of the political parties welcomed the Commission's decision to hold elections in the state and expressed satisfaction on poll arrangements."
Representatives of political parties requested that observers sent by Election Commission should be more proactive and take suitable action on the complaints, he said.
The CEC said the parties have requested that election related guideline should be translated in local language for the benefit of political parties, candidates and voters.
On the law and order situation, he said they requested for adequate security of their candidates in some constituencies and demanded to take adequate security measures for creating conducive atmosphere for election.
Political parties requested to take effective action to prevent poll related violence, CEC said, adding that they also wanted that the movement of armed cadres should be effectively restricted to prevent any attempt of intimidation of voters. The parties demanded that steps should be taken to prevent attempts of exerting undue influence on voters by village councils in some areas, he said.
Rawat said that the state administration and police have been asked to take steps to tone up the security and law and order environment and preventive steps be taken.
The Commission has directed for strict implementation of ceasefire ground rules so that the movement of armed cadres is curbed in the interest of free and fair election, Rawat said.
He added that directions have been issued to keep strict vigil at the International border with Myanmar by the Assam Rifles so as to curb the movement of the armed underground cadres from across the borders.
All the police check posts across the state are under webcasting and videography 24x7 for the entire period during the Election, Rawat said.
He informed that out of the total 11,91,513 voters, 6,01,707 (50.50 per cent) are male and 5,89,806 (49.50 per cent) are female while there are also 5925 service voters.
Currently, percentage of photo coverage in the electoral roll is 99.99 per cent and EPIC coverage is 99.99 per cent, while efforts are being made to make them 100 percent,he said. Rawat said voting will be conducted in 2,156 polling stations as 40 polling stations falls under Northern Angami-II seat, which has been declared won unopposed. EVM with VVPATs will be used in all the polling stations, he said.
The CEC said the Commission reviewed with enforcement agencies to curb misuse of money, drugs, liquor and gifts distribution to induce voters by political parties and candidates.
He said that movement of money through banking channels is monitored and fool-proof arrangements have been made to monitor suspicious banking transactions.
Altogether 178 Flying Squads and 84 Static Surveillance Teams have been operationalized to check movement of cash liquor, drugs and other freebies in Nagaland.
This, he said, has led to the seizure of Rs 24,72,890 in cash, 25,856 litres of liquor, 220 Kgs of ganja, 18,683 banned drugs, 5 gm - Heroin/Opium, two vehicles used for anti-social activity, two small arms with 33 live ammunition.
Altogether 96 FIRs have been lodged against the above crimes while 14 cases have been registered in connection with election related clashes between supporters of candidates, Rawat said.
CEC said that five new Information Technology applications are being used in this assembly elections, such as SAMADHAN - public grievance redressal and monitoring system, SUVIDHA - single window permission system, SUGAM - vehicle management system, ELECTION-ATLAS for 60-Assembly Constituencies and Webcasting, Videography and Micro Observers.