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Voters have right to know about fulfillment of assurances by parties; matter sub-judice: CEC


Chennai, Feb 24: The voters have a right to know about the feasibility of fulfilling poll assurances made by political parties, Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar said on Saturday and made it clear that the matter is, however, sub judice.

Political parties have a right to make promises in their election manifestos and the electorate has a right to know if these are genuine and how these programmes could be funded, he said, adding the entire matter forms part of an ongoing case and the matter was sub judice.

At a press conference here, Rajiv Kumar, answering questions, said the Election Commission has prepared a ‘proforma' to make parties to make a disclosure on their election promises. However, this aspect also relates to the pending court matter.

He said enforcement agencies have been directed to stay vigilant and prevent distribution of cash and freebies. Payments Corporation of too has been tasked to monitor online transactions.

To a query on ‘fake news,' he said, today fake news is running as you mentioned that election dates have been announced. This fake news has, however, been countered within half an hour and it was made amply clear that it was fake.

A majority of political parties have sought single phase polls. After holding meetings with political parties during the last two days, Rajiv Kumar said “a majority of parties informed him that many parties have commenced parking of funds for distribution to voters.”

“We met various political parties both national like the BJP, INC and state parties like the AIADMK, DMK. A majority of their demands were single phase elections, curb on distribution of money and freebies,” he said.

The parties also sought action to prevent ‘voter impersonation,' distribution of liquor and transfer of money through online mode.

During past elections in Tamil Nadu, parties have often accused each other of ‘inducing' voters by distributing cash and gifts.

Kumar today said most of the political parties in Tamil Nadu have urged the EC to conduct the upcoming in single phase in the state.

At the end of his two-day visit to Tamil Nadu to review poll-preparedness, he said the Election Commission (EC) would come down heavily on those officials who do not ensure level playing field to parties as “in a democracy, officials should be absolutely impartial.”

He said, “most of the political parties want single phase polling and demanded steps to curtail use of money power during the elections.

They also sought disqualification of candidates who are found distributing cash during the elections or any inducement.”

“Process wise, they (political parties) have said that the bureaucratic machinery needs to be impartial. They need to provide a level playing field so that every candidate is treated equally.”

Kumar, who was flanked by senior EC officials including Tamil Nadu Chief Electoral Officer Satyabrata Sahoo, said the political parties suggested that the permission to poll rallies be given on ‘equal footing' and not be ‘discriminated.'

“Parties demanded that CCTV cameras be installed at the most sensitive booths and strong action against the impersonation during voting,” he added.

According to EC, Tamil Nadu is home to 6.19 crore voters, of which there are 3.15 crore women and 3.04 crore men. There are 1.08 crore people in the age group of 20 to 29 years and first time voters between the age group of 18 and 19 years are 9.18 lakh.

The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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