Imphal: The Chief Electoral Officer, Manipur Rajesh Agrawal, in a press conference held Thursday highlighted the steps taken up by the election machineries for smooth conduct of poll in the upcoming 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly Elections, 2022.
At the onset of the meeting, he indicated that such type of Press Meets will be held thrice a week including every Thursday in which two of the meetings will be the address of the officials from the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer, Manipur. After notification, the frequency of press briefing will be increased.
In the press conference, the CEO informed the list of media houses where format C1and C2 has to be published by the candidates and political parties respectively regarding the publication and broadcast of Criminal Antecedents.
The formats can be published in one of the newspapers, i.e., Sangai Express (Manipuri), Poknapham, Manipur Chronicle, Manipur Express, Sangai Express (English), Hueiyen Lanpao (Manipuri) and Lamka Post on three occasions and in one of the TV Channels amongst ISTV, IMPACT TV or TOM TV.
He further stated that Political parties shall also publish information regarding individuals with pending criminal cases, who have been selected as candidates, along with reasons for such selection, as also to why other individuals without criminal antecedents could not be selected as candidates in Format C7 in the one of national papers, Hindu or Times of India, in addition to publication in local newspapers, websites and social media accounts of political parties.
The CEO also stated that so far a total of 54321 defacement in government, public properties and unauthorised defacement in private properties has been identified and corrected. Active 15 enforcement agencies have opened the control rooms and till now in a large scale had managed to seize 50 lakh of cash, 14 lakh worth liquor, 26.55 crore worth drugs and 1.41 crore worth other items as gold. Under various sections of CrPC, the Superintendents of Police of different districts have bound down 1430 persons. Further, more than 15000 of the licensed arm have been deposited at police stations in view of ensuing elections. He expressed that strict enforcement from the police has enabled to contain the pre-poll violence in the State.
He further shared the COVID norms to be followed as issued by the ECI. He informed that the ban have been extended till January 22, 2022 on road show, pad-yatra, cycle/bike/vehicle rally and procession. Indoor Meeting is allowed with a maximum participants of 50 as fixed by SDMA. Each political party/candidate shall furnish an undertaking in the application form under Suvidha that it shall abide by all the extant instructions/guidelines in regard to COVID norms.
Election Agents/ Polling Agents/Counting Agents without double dose vaccination shall not be allowed. Between 8 pm and 8 am, no rallies and public meetings akin to campaign curfew shall be allowed on any campaign day. Nukkad Sabhas/meeting will not be allowed on public roads, round abouts or public streets or corners. Further, Political parties and candidates are advised to conduct their campaign as much as possible through digital/virtual/media platforms/mobile based mode instead of physical mode ensuring strict compliance of COVID safety norms, he added.
Rajesh Agrawal also stated that a maximum of five persons including candidate, excluding security personnel, if any, shall be allowed for Door to Door Campaign.
The convoy of vehicles shall be broken after every five vehicles and interval between two sets of convoys of vehicles should be half an hour instead of gap of 100 meters. The maximum number of star campaigners for recognized National/State political parties has been fixed to 30 and for unrecognized political parties to 15.
He asserted that to ensure that all necessary safety arrangements are made, the request for permission for campaign by star campaigners may be given at least 48 hours before the start of campaign. No victory procession after the counting shall be allowed and not more than two persons shall be allowed to accompany the winning candidate or authorized representative to receive the certificate of election from Returning Officer. If a candidate or political party violates any given guidelines, no further permission shall be given to the concerned candidate/party for rallies, meetings.
ECI has revised the Abstract Statement of Election Expenses due to increasing trend of virtual campaigning. Candidates are required to lodge Abstract Statement of Election Expenses along with their day to day Account Register within 30 days of declaration of results. Recognised Political Parties has to submit their Abstract Statement of Election Expenditure to ECI within 75 days of completion of election. Unrecognised Political Parties to submit their Abstract Statement of Election Expenditure to CEO within 75 days of completion of election, he added.
CEO further stated that ECI has discontinued Photo Voter Slip as an identity proof with effect from 28th February, 2019. For identification at Polling Station, voters shall present their EPIC or any other mode of identification card including Aadhaar Card, MNREGA Job Card, Passbooks with photograph issued by Bank/Post Office, Health Insurance Smart Card issued under the scheme of Ministry of Labour, Driving License, PAN Card, Smart Card issued by RGI under NPR, Indian Passport, Pension document with photograph, Service Identity Cards with photograph issued to employees by Central/State Govt./PSUs/Public Limited Companies or Official identity cards issued to MPs/MLAs/MLCs.
Earlier, the Chief Electoral Officer also held a meeting with representatives of Recognised National and State political parties at the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer, Manipur, Lamphelpat. The meeting was held as a part of the weekly meeting with the political parties to discuss on matters related to the current General Elections to the Manipur Legislative Assembly.
During the meeting, Rajesh Agrawal informed that a New Symbol Loading Units would be used for the first time in all 60 assembly Constituencies of the State and added that first randomisation of EVMs was going on with the involvement of political parties. Explainer videos on EVM/VVPAT familiarization had also been extensively shared through digital mode, he added.