Chief Election Commissioner Rawat reviews poll preparations in Chhattisgarh

Raipur, Chhattisgarh, IndiaUpdated: Nov 02, 2018, 10:15 AM IST

File photo: Former Chief Election Commissioner OP Rawat. Photograph:(ANI)

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In a series of meetings, the CEC, accompanied by senior officials, also reviewed the law and order situation especially in the Naxal-affected areas that will go to polls on November 12.

Chief Election Commissioner OP Rawat on Thursday reviewed the ongoing preparations for the Chhattisgarh assembly polls scheduled to be held in two phases on November 12 and 20.

In a series of meetings, the CEC, accompanied by senior officials, also reviewed the law and order situation especially in the Naxal-affected areas that will go to polls on November 12.

"The state election officials have been directed to ensure strict compliance of the Model Code of Conduct and to carry out impartial action against any complaint regarding its violation," Rawat said in a press conference this evening.

The commission is committed to conduct a free, fair and transparent election, he said.

During his visit to the state, meetings were held with representatives of different political parties.

Besides, district-wise preparations were reviewed during meetings with collectors and superintendents of police and officials engaged in electioneering, he said.

State election machinery has been directed to carry out effective steps to address issues raised by political parties.

"The state election machinery was also asked to carry out effective supervision and vigilance so that the apprehensions can be removed from the mind of political parties and a trust develops among the voters that they can participate in election process," he said.

Responding to a question, the CEC said the poll watchdog has taken a serious cognisance of the recent Naxal incidents in Bijapur and Dantewada districts in Bastar.

Discussions were also held with the administrative and police officials in this connection (Naxal attacks) and they have been directed to ensure peace and security of the voters so that they can come out and exercise their franchise without any fear, he said.

Several other points regarding the Left-wing extremism were also discussed and directives were issued accordingly, but these matters cannot be divulged, he added.

Officials have been asked to use Central Armed Police Force for confidence-building measures so that people can fearlessly participate in the process, he added.

Responding to a query on the use of indelible ink on the index finger of voters in Naxal affected areas, he ruled out relaxation of norms.

"A proposal was received in this connection. The commission had very well examined it from every aspects. After holding talks with all the stakeholder, it was found that nothing had happened due to applying indelible ink mark. If we stop applying ink mark that it will lead to chances of other irregularities to take place. In such places where such violent people are there, they can do anything," he added.

He informed that of the total 90 Assembly segments, 51 are general while 10 segments are reserved for Scheduled Caste and 29 for Scheduled Tribes.

As per the final electoral rolls, a total 1,85,59,936 voters including 92,95,301 male, 92,49,459 female and 1059 third gender voters are expected to exercise their franchise.

Also, there are 14,177 service voters in the state. There are 19545 polling centres having 23,678 polling booths with 46 supporting polling booths.

The full bench of the election commission, headed by the chief election commissioner, had reached Raipur Wednesday evening to review poll preparedness.

The polling will be held in the state in two phases on November 12 and November 20.

Eighteen constituencies in 8 Naxal-affected districts will witness polling in the first phase while the rest 72 seats in the second phase.

Counting of votes will be taken up on December 11.