Lok Sabha elections: Most political parties in TN want EC to hold single phase polls

In a press conference here, Rajiv Kumar, answering questions, said the Election Commission has prepared a 'proforma' to make parties to make disclosure on their election promises.
Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar
Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar(Photo | PTI)

CHENNAI: Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar on Saturday said most of the political parties in Tamil Nadu have urged the EC to conduct the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in single phase in the state.

At the end of his two-day visit to Tamil Nadu to review poll-preparedness, Kumar said the Election Commission (EC) would come down heavily on those officials who do not ensure level playing field to parties as "in a democracy, officials should be absolutely impartial."

Briefing reporters on the issues raised by the political parties, he said, "most of the political parties want single phase polling and demanded steps to curtail use of money power during the elections.

They also sought disqualification of candidates who are found distributing cash during the elections or any inducement."

"Process wise, they (political parties) have said that the bureaucratic machinery needs to be impartial. They need to provide a level playing field so that every candidate is treated equally," he said.

Kumar, who was flanked by senior EC officials including Tamil Nadu Chief Electoral Officer Satyabrata Sahoo, said the political parties demanded that the permission to poll rallies be given on 'equal footing' and not be 'discriminated.'

Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar with Election Commissioner Arun Goel, Senior Deputy Election Commissioner Dharmendra Sharma and other officials addresses a press conference on poll preparedness for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, in Chennai.
Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar with Election Commissioner Arun Goel, Senior Deputy Election Commissioner Dharmendra Sharma and other officials addresses a press conference on poll preparedness for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections, in Chennai.(Photo | PTI)

"Parties demanded that CCTV cameras be deployed in the most sensitive booths and strong action against the impersonation during voting," he added.

According to CEC, Tamil Nadu is home to 6.19 crore voters, of which there are 3.15 crore women and 3.04 crore men.

"We appeal to the women to surpass the male voters even when they come for voting," he said in a lighter vein and added that there were 8,294 transgenders, 4.22 lakh persons with disabilities (PWDs).

There are 1.08 crore people in the age group of 20 to 29 years and first time voters between the age group of 18 and 19 years are 9.18 lakh.

There are 68,144 polling booths and the EC has mandated 50 per cent of them to carry out live webcasting and they should be equipped with Assured Minimum Facilities (AMF) like drinking water, electricity, toilet, ramp, wheel chairs among others.

Referring to the distribution of money or liquor to voters, Kumar said the EC has come up with a mobile app cVIGIL (Citizens Be Vigilant), which allows a user to click a picture of any incident like money distribution and assured that within 100 minutes of receiving the complaint and verifying it, action would be taken against them.

"After receiving the complaint based on the latitude and longitude shared by the user, the Static Surveillance Teams or the Flying Surveillance Teams would reach the venue and after verifying the complaint they will take action. Action from the EC is guaranteed within 100 minutes of time through this mobile application," he said. 

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