The Election Commission of India (ECI) headed by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), Sunil Arora that arrived at Srinagar yesterday on a 2-day visit to J&K for holding consultations with various political parties, state administration and other stakeholders on the forthcoming Election held wide-ranging consultations Jammu today.
On the second day of the visit, the ECI held parleys with the delegations of various political parties here and sought their views on the coming Elections.
Election Commissioners, Sushil Chandra and Ashok Lavasa, Deputy Election Commissioner, Sandeep Saxena, Director General ECI, Dilip Kumar, ADG Sheyphali Sharan, Director Nikhil Kumar, Chief Electoral Officer J&K, Shailendra Kumar were also present during these deliberations.
National Conference (NC) delegation was led by senior leader and former MLA Devinder Singh Rana. Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) delegation was represented by former Minister Ch. Zulifkar Ali, Indian National Congress (INC) delegation was led by senior party leader Mula Ram, Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) delegation was led by State Secretary, Rajinder Sharma and former Deputy Chief Minister, Kavinder Gupta. CPI (M) delegation was led by Om Prakash. National Panthers Party (NPP) delegation was led by former Minister, Harshdev Singh, Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) delegation was led by its State President, Som Raj Majotra, CPI delegation was led by State Secretary, Naresh Munshi and Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) delegation was led by its State General Secretary. They put their views before the ECI on the coming elections.
The ECI also held a marathon review of preparedness in the Jammu division with the civil and police officers, including Divisional Commissioner, Jammu, Sanjeev Kumar Verma, ADGP, Law & Order, Muneer Ahmad Khan, IGP Jammu, M K Sinha, IG CRPF, Zulfiqar Hassan, Deputy Commissioners and District Police Chiefs of Jammu division.
In his brief address to the Officers, Chief Election Commissioner, Sunil Arora said that it is the endeavor of the Commission to hold free and fair elections across the country with maximum participation of people. He said for holding the elections, it is the primary duty of the Commission to ensure security and safety of the people and a conducive atmosphere is must for that.
The Commission asked the state authorities to create inducement-free and intimidation-free atmosphere by ensuring a sufficient number of security persons on the ground. He called for synergized efforts by various departments to achieve the common goal of holding peaceful elections in the State. He urged upon the officers to plug the gaps, if any and take all necessary steps as per the ECI guidelines issued from time to time. He also called for stepping up of the awareness campaign to educate the masses about the importance of the election and to ensure larger participation of people in the electoral process.
In a separate meeting with the State Nodal Officers of various departments, the ECI reviewed the general preparedness of elections and asked the concerned authorities to ensure minimum assured facilities at polling stations for the voters like provision of electricity, road connectivity, drinking water, transport facility, communication facility, ramps, wheelchairs so that they don’t face any difficulties in casting their votes. The issues related to logistics like transportation of EVMs, polling material to the booths and deployment of staff for election duty also figured prominently during the discussions.
The Commission called upon the state authorities to draw a well-knit action plan to monitor the MCC violations and election-related expenditure by candidates during the election process to prevent unlawful activities. Strict action must be taken against those indulging in various unlawful activities during the elections with regard to the inducement and illegal gratification to voters.
Later, the Commission also held a separate meeting with the Chief Secretary, BVR Subrahmanyam and DG Police, Dilbag Singh and reviewed the overall election preparedness.