No deferment due to escalation of tension
Amid tensions between India and Pakistan, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora said on Friday that Lok Sabha elections will be held as per schedule and asserted that the Election Commission of India was committed to holding free and fair polls.
The CEC, along with other Election Commissioners, was talking to the media after concluding a three-day tour of Lucknow to review poll preparations in the State.
To a specific question on whether Lok Sabha polls could be deferred due to the escalation of tension on the Indo-Pak border, Arora said, “The general elections in the country will be held on time. We are in direct touch with the Government and there is no confusion on this issue.”
Refusing to disclose any possible date for announcement of election schedules, he said discussions with the Home Ministry about availability of para-forces have been done.
Arora said that as per a new notification of the Commission, candidates will have to give details of their properties abroad, beside those in the country.
“The I-T department will look into it, and, if any, discrepancies are found, then it will be uploaded on Election Commission website. Candidates will have to file his /her Income Tax return and that of his family members for the last five years,” said the CEC.
Asked about the EC’s stand on inflammatory speeches, Arora said, “I have apprised the Chief Secretary and DGP about intention of the poll panel and they have assured that strict action against offenders in such cases.”
The CEC said that the Commission would soon launch C-Vigil App where any citizen, on condition of anonymity, could register poll related complaints and the EC would also constitute committees to keep an eye on social media.
“If a citizen is not willing to disclose his identity then too, authorities will have to publish the action in the media,” Arora said while adding that the App was a great success in the recently concluded Assembly polls in the five States where 28,000 complaints were received.
Expressing satisfactions on the preparation for Lok Sabha polls in Uttar Pradesh, the CEC said that EVMs have been turned into a ‘football’ by some political parties and they were kicking it whenever they wanted.
Arora said that while the EVMs have been under use for the last two decades, people questioning the EVM’s reliability have not furnished any evidence to substantiate their allegations.
The CEC, accompanied by two Commissioners Ashok Lavasa and Sushil Chandra and other officials, reviewed poll preparations in the State with senior officials, district authorities and other concerned during their three-day tour.
The number of voters in Uttar Pradesh has risen by 25, 45,480 after the revision of electoral rolls. During the 2017 Assembly polls, the total voters were 14, 15, 16,412 which has increased to 14, 40,61,892. The total voters during 2014 Lok Sabha elections were 13,87,49,076.
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