K’taka polls: ECI reviews election arrangements, directs state teams to enhance vigil

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NEW DELHI: Ahead of the Karnataka Assembly elections, the Election Commission of India led by Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar on Monday, held a video conference with the officials to review the election arrangements, law and order condition in the state.

The video conference was held with Chief Secretaries, Director Generals of Police, Nodal Police Officers, Nodal Officer CAPF and senior officials from enforcement agencies including Coast Guard, NCB, Income tax, etc of Karnataka and border states of Goa, Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala, the ECI stated.

During the review meeting, CEC Rajiv Kumar directed state teams to enhance vigilance on the state borders. He specifically emphasized the need for vigil over the 185 Interstate check posts across the six neighbouring States, to ensure no cross-border movement of illicit cash, liquor, drugs, or freebies takes place.

While taking note of the seizure of over Rs 305 crores to date (as compared to only Rs 83 crores during the 2018 elections), the CEC asked to fix the responsibility of local officers failing to control money power.

He asked the officials to step up the seizures with support from adjoining border states and instil fear of administration amongst the violators to fulfil the Commission’s resolve of an inducement-free election in the state. Kumar also directed Coast Guard and Narcotics Control Bureau officials to keep strict vigil and help curtail the drug menace.

The CEC further directed the officials to keep a strict watch over social media for any violations and fake narratives vitiating the election atmosphere. He also urged the officials to raise the bar further on voter turnout, gender, youth and urban electors participation.

Election Commissioner Anup Chandra Pandey asked the officials for strict action against anti-social elements, follow-up of pending NBWs and strict vigil during the silence period to ensure elections without fear and favour. While emphasizing the scope of improvement in illicit liquor seizures, he directed officials to act against kingpins, prevent stockpiling of liquor and ensures no diversion of molasses meant for export or any other use as defined by law.

Election Commissioner Arun Goel asked the officials to tighten the vigilance without causing inconvenience to the public and ensure thorough follow-up post-seizure operations. He said that the objective of this review is to sensitize neighbouring states and also to put in the best efforts for the smooth conduct of elections.

On March 29, the Election Commission announced the schedule for the assembly elections in Karnataka.

The polling of votes will take place on May 10, and the counting of votes will take place on May 13. (ANI)

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