Debating India

ELECTION COMMISSION

Enforce model code: Tandon

Saturday 25 March 2006, by VENKATESAN*J.

New Delhi : Chief Election Commissioner B.B. Tandon on Friday asked the poll observers deputed to Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Pondicherry for the coming Assembly elections to implement the Model Code of Conduct in letter and in spirit.

Addressing 414 observers (329 general and 85 expenditure), Mr. Tandon asked them to ensure free and fair elections and tell civil servants to be impartial. The other Commissioners, N. Gopalaswami and Navin Chawla, also addressed the meeting.

The CEC told correspondents that the Commission would be visiting Pondicherry on March 27 and Tamil Nadu on March 28 and 29 to oversee the arrangements made.

The observers were informed that no videography or photography should be allowed inside the polling stations and secrecy of vote would have to be maintained at all cost. They were directed to make sure that extensive videography was done of all critical events that might take place during the election process and polling at hyper-sensitive/sensitive polling stations.

The observers would reach the constituencies on the last day of nomination and stay there till the end of poll/repoll and declaration of results. This would ensure immediate redressal of complaints. They would supervise the processes of nominations, scrutiny, withdrawal, campaign and poll.

They must ensure that no more than three vehicles were allowed within 100 metres of the Returning Officer’s/Assistant Returning Officer’s office at the time of nomination.

To curb overcrowding, the Commission directed that at the time of nominations only candidates, their proposers, as prescribed by law, and four others be allowed to enter the office of Returning Officer/Assistant Returning Officer. They were asked to make sure that the affidavits filed by the candidates at the time of nomination detailing their movable/immovable assets, qualifications, convictions, cases pending in courts, were displayed prominently and made available for public scrutiny without any loss of time.

See online : The Hindu

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