LUCKNOW: The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Friday said that despite the escalated tensions at Indo-Pak border, the Lok Sabha election in the country would be held on time without any delay.
While Addressing the media persons in Lucknow, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora said that the commission was fully prepared and that there were sufficient forces to ensure free and fair polls in the next couple of months. Arora said that the election notification and schedule would be announced soon.
The CEC made the announcement to this effect amid speculations over the schedule of elections and possible delay owing to tension at the borders. Meanwhile, the CEC also sought to allay all the doubts over the electronic voting machines (EVMs) being raised by the opposition time and again. The CEC also confirmed that any doubt over the EVMs could not be in consonance with to the outcome of the polls.
“The Supreme Court of India has ruled out the possibility of returning to ballot papers. The results of 2014 Lok Sabha elections and 2015 Delhi Assembly elections were different. Therefore, one should not say that EVMs are properly functioning when the result is ‘X’ and level accusations of their being tampered when the result is different,” said the CEC. He added that EVMs were in use for more than two decades without any questions being raised.
Cautioning the candidates intending to contest upcoming Lok Sabha elections, the CEC said all the candidates would be required to provide details of the earnings of their entire family of the last five years besides revealing the assets in the country and abroad if any. The CEC made it amply clear that the information furnished by candidates would be handed over to the Income Tax department for verification and in case of any discrepancy, strict punishment would be handed out to the candidate aspiring for a term on the lower house.
Arora said that VVPAT machines will be used in all 1.63 lakh polling centres across 80 Lok Sabha seats in UP. “The machines will be displayed at public places to make the voters aware of their way of functioning. ECI will also ensure webcasting of polling at all sensitive and hypersensitive centres,” he said.
The CEC had been heading an ECI team which was in UP for the last three days during which he held meetings with government, police officials and representatives of political parties. The EC reviewed the suggestions of political parties, including a review of poll expenditure and linking of voter list with Aadhaar. Some political parties demanded that polling time to be extended by an hour.