NEW DELHI: In a first, central paramilitary forces will be deployed at all 62,779 polling stations during the 5-phase Bihar assembly polls, the Election Commission said today.
Besides, as many as 323 observers--243 general observers and 80 expenditure observers-- will be deployed to check flow of illegal money and to ensure that the elections are conducted in free and fair manner. Also, solar lamps will be used at polling stations so the power cuts do not affect the exercise in the state, which faces frequent power outages and erratic supply.
"100 per cent polling stations in Bihar to be covered by central armed police forces. Not even a single polling station will be left. It has never happened before. It is going to be the first time that central forces will be deployed in all the booths," Election Commissioner O P Rawat told PTI. He said state police forces and home guards would be used for maintaining queues and other works.
There will be 62,779 polling stations in Bihar for the five-phase Assembly polls beginning October 12. The decision to deploy central forces has been taken after due consultation with all the parties. "When the Commission had gone to Bihar all parties told us that no matter in how many phases you conduct the polls, but for peaceful and objective poll, central forces should be deployed at every poll booth," Rawat said.
The expenditure monitoring system has been very well planned. Our expenditure monitors reach there on the day of nominations. Videography team will also be there. They will also keep a shadow expenditure register to ensure that the expenditure is within permissible limit, the Election Commissioner said. "There will be 80 expenditure observers. General observer will be one in every constituency. So there will be 243 general observers," he said.
On the possibility of use of black money to allure voters, Rawat said strict checks will be done by the officials to check such practices. "We do not recognise black and white money. We do not recognise its colour. Money is money. And if you are carrying that much cash.... our concern is that you are spending within your limit and code of conduct is adhered to....you cannot allure voters.
"We have given all instructions. Airports or bus depots, wherever movement of money is there, checking needs to be done," the Election Commissioner said. He said the Commission will be effectively dealing with the issue of hate speeches. "There are already provisions. Doing such a thing is an offence. You must have seen that action has been taken whenever such incidents happen.
"Peaceful polls can only happen when you keep an eye on such thing. That no one talks anything to incite people or disrupt communal harmony," Rawat said. He also rejected apprehensions raised about the possibility of manipulations of electronic voting machines (EVMs), saying they were tampering free. "Commission had challenged people that those who feel they can manipulate it, they can come and do it. Commission had earlier offered it. It is all wrong. Nobody can tamper it.
"There is a very big safeguard in it and that is if anybody tries to open or break it, it goes into factory mode. Then it will not function. This apprehension is wrong. EVMs are tampering free and it can't be done," Rawat said. Polling for the 243-member assembly will be held on October 12, 16, 18 and November 1 and 5. The counting will take place on November 8.