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Lok Sabha elections: EC tells observers to ensure intimidation-free polls

New Delhi, Mar 11 (PTI) The Election Commission on Monday asked its observers to ensure polls free of coercion and intimidation and pushed for judicious use of central and state forces keeping in mind that their deployment should not favour any particular party.

New Delhi, Mar 11 (PTI) The Election Commission on Monday asked its observers to ensure polls free of coercion and intimidation and pushed for judicious use of central and state forces keeping in mind that their deployment should not favour any particular party.

Addressing a meeting of more than 2,100 general, police and expenditure observers here ahead of the announcement of the Lok Sabha elections and some state assembly polls, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Rajiv Kumar directed them to ensure a level-playing field for free and fair elections. The polls should be free of intimidation and inducement, he said.

The CEC reminded them that as observers, they represent the commission, and are expected to conduct themselves professionally and be accessible to all stakeholders, including candidates.

The observers were instructed to be tough but polite in their conduct on the field, the Election Commission (EC) said in a statement.

The observers were also asked to be confined physically within the boundaries of a parliamentary constituency they are allotted during the entire electoral process. GPS tracking has been proposed to be fitted in their vehicles, it said.

They were also told to always remain available on their phones and e-mails, and respond to the calls of candidates, parties, voters and polling personnel. 'Any complaints in this regard shall be viewed seriously by the commission,' it said.

The observers need to come out of their comfort zones during the entire election process, the statement said.

During the day-long briefing sessions, the officers were given comprehensive and thorough inputs about the various aspects of election management by the senior deputy election commissioner, deputy election commissioners and others. Observers are tasked with ensuring a free and fair electoral process. They are deployed in poll-bound areas ahead of announcement of elections and work as the eyes and ears of the poll authority in states.

More than 2,150 senior officers drawn from the Indian Administrative Service and the Indian Police Service as well as officers from the Indian Revenue Service and few other central services attended the briefing meeting which was organised in a hybrid mode.

Around 900 general observers, 450 police observers and 800 expenditure observers are being deployed for the forthcoming elections. PTI NAB NAB ANB ANB

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