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EC keeping tabs on sensitive places

EC keeping tabs on sensitive places
Highlights

Election Commission of India Keeping Tabs on Sensitive Places, EC has identified 101 assembly constituencies in Andhra Pradesh as ‘expenditure sensitive’. He asked state officers to “initiate scientific and targeted measures” to check cash distribution to the voters.

Election Commission of India Keeping Tabs on Sensitive PlacesHyderabad: Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) of India, V S Sampath, said that the Election Commission of India (ECI) has identified 101 assembly constituencies in Andhra Pradesh as ‘expenditure sensitive’. He asked state officers to “initiate scientific and targeted measures” to check cash distribution to the voters.

Addressing media persons on Saturday, Sampath said that Andhra Pradesh stood in the first place with 46 per cent of cash seizures in the country during the elections and the Commission took up stringent measures to curtail the cash flow in the state. He said that the cash seized so far in the state touched Rs 105 crore and flying squads had been conducting searching operations.

Referring to the sensitive polling stations, he said that the officials classified 25,390 polling stations out of 70,171 polling stations as critical and hyper critical one. “The officials were asked to take up special measures by deploying more security personnel for smooth, free and fair polling in these polling stations”, he said, adding that the officials were concentrating on checking cash and liquor distribution during the polls. He said that the officials registered 28,280 FIRs (first investigation report) pertaining to liquor and 1142 FIRs on other crimes. "We have deployed 85 expenditure observers and 126 assistant expenditure observers besides 1,104 flying squads and 1,060 static surveillance teams to keep a watch on monetary issues," he added.

He said that officials had expressed concerns over “muscle and money power” in certain areas. The Commission assured them of adequate security personnel. On ethical voting, he said that the Commission invited recognized political parties for an all party meeting and some parties asked the Commission to create awareness among the voters on ethical voting.

He said that the media certification committees were asked to monitor the ‘paid news’ affair and the reports on it would be sent to Press Council of India and National Broadcasters Association (NBA). The state has 6.48 crore voters ( 3.26 crore male and 3.22 crore female voters). There are 11 lakh voters in 18-19 age group. Over allegations leveled by the Samajwadi Party that the poll watchdog was "biased" towards the BJP, Sampath refused to be drawn into the controversy. "The Commission doesn't get into individual allegations. We can't get into a public debate," the CEC said.

Sampath said that EC had asked for a report on alleged threats by Maharshtra Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar to the voters in Baramati Lok Sabha constituency. The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader had reportedly threatened to deprive a village of water if it didn't vote for his cousin Supriya Sule, the daughter of NCP chief Sharad Pawar. A purported video of Ajit Pawar addressing a gathering in Masalwadi village was cited in a complaint filed by Suresh Khopde, a former police officer and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) candidate from Baramati.

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