Telangana: EC team reviews poll preparedness, warns of action on religious, cast based appeals

Hyderabad: Chief Election Commissioner OP Rawat on Friday said that some complaints have been received and action will be taken if appeals to woo voters based on cast and religion are made by candidates during campaigns.

The remarks were made by Rawat while addressing a press conference here, after reviewing poll preparedness.

Election Commission of India team headed by Chief Election Commissioner OP Rawat took stock of poll preparedness in the election-bound state of Telangana. The team of commission received various complaints from different political parties and also directed concerned authorities to take necessary corrective measures.

Speaking about the complaints that were received by the apex electoral body, Rawat said, “Political parties have demanded strict implementation of model code of conduct. Some parties have complained about the partisan attitude of some officials and requested the commission to take action. Some parties have complained that some nomination was rejected or not accepted by returning officer citing various reasons. Some parties complained about meetings based on religion and caste and also brought to notice of commission instance of making appeals based on caste and religion grounds. Some parties have again raised concerns about telephone tapping. Some parties have also commended the efforts of commission machinery at seizing the record level of cash during the last one month whereas the elections are still two weeks away. We have also received complaints of some candidates spending more than permitted amount. About law and order, some parties have wanted that effective preventive action is taken in certain areas where it has not been taken yet. ”

“Keeping in view all these concerns of political parties, election commission gave necessary directions for corrective measures to all concerned officials and has also advised state authorities and nodal agencies to keep in mind all these concerns of main stakeholders of elections, that is political parties,” he added.

Talking about the theme of elections, he said, “This year theme declared by election commission is ‘Accessible Election’ and therefore commission has directed that all felicitation measure must be in place to felicitate person with disabilities to come out and vote. We have deployed accessibility observers to access that all measures to felicitate persons with disabilities are in place. Efforts are being made to even transport such people based on prior registration.”

He also informed that as many as 119 women only polling booths will be functional in the state for the day of polling.

“Commission has also directed to manage all women polling booths which will be managed by all women election officials and security personnel. At least 119 such booths will be in place.”

Speaking further, he also shared details of Citizen Vigil App and use of VVPAT machines.

Rawat said, “Commission had launched Citizen Vigil or cVigil app which garnered a great response from citizens.

Using the app, many cases were registered and actions were initiated. In all 32,796 polling stations will be there in Telangana. The average number of voters per polling station will be 856. All polling stations will be having the Electronic voting machine (EVM) and Voter Verifiable Polling Audit Trail (VVPAT) machine. This VVPAT machine is a printer and public can notice their vote for 7 seconds before slip gets collected in an attached box. Commission has made an arrangement that in every assembly constituency, one polling station will be randomly selected and VVPAT slips will be mandatorily be counted and the result will be matched with EVM vote count.”

The Telangana Assembly elections are scheduled to be held on December 7 to elect representatives of 119 constituencies. The counting of votes will take place on December 11.