CHENNAI: The Election Commission on Thursday tightened the screws on the by-election to the RK Nagar Assembly constituency, scheduled for April 12, by putting in place more measures to ensure free and fair polls.
It appointed as many as five Observers, the highest ever in any constituency in the country and deployed two IAS and two IPS officers on night patrol until the polling is over.
Announcing this after a day-long interaction with top officials of the State government as well as representatives of the political parties, Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha said, “The Commission will monitor the arrangements closely and will not leave any stone unturned to ensure free, fair, transparent and inducement-free election.”
He was accompanied by two Directors of the Election Commission - Dilip Sharma and Dhirendra Ojha.
“After today’s meeting, it was directed that a special team of two IAS and two IPS officers be on night rounds till the completion of elections,” he said and added that if any complaint of distribution of money outside the constituency is received, it would also be checked by the surveillance teams.
A separate set of five such teams was being deployed for this purpose. They would visit any area in Chennai and the neighbouring districts. Sinha said CCTVs would be deployed in major streets and junctions and checkpoints in the constituency to monitor movement of vehicles and persons.
Though 25 surveillance teams were already on duty in the constituency, the number of flying squads and static surveillance teams would be increased depending upon the need.
Webcasting would be done in all the 256 polling stations. Micro-observers (Central government employees) would be deployed in all the 256 booths. They would supervise the voting procedure in the booths and report to the Commission through the Observers.
Stating that two Special Observers were appointed exclusively to monitor expenditure in the constituency, Sinha pointed out, “with this there are totally five Observers in the constituency. This is highest deployment of observers in the entire country in the history of elections.”
Over a dozen Income Tax officials will attend to the complaints of storage/distribution of money both inside and outside the constituency.
“These officers have been empowered to search the premises where such complaints are registered. Surveillance will also be increased at important places like railway stations, airport, bus stands, taxi and auto stands,” Sinha added.
He also pointed out that all IT applications like SWC, GPS monitoring of flying squads, cash and bank monitoring etc. would also be deployed for this election. First the team had a meeting with Observers to take their feedback about the preparations for elections and enforcement of model code.
Then the team had a detailed meeting with the District Election Officer, Chennai, Commissioner of Police, Returning Officer, Director General (Investigation) of Income Tax Department, Addl DGP, Prohibition & Excise and other officials.