Imphal: Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Manipur, Rajesh Agrawal said this evening that, this time, M-3 EVMs manufactured by Electronics Corporation of India Ltd. (ECIL) will be used in all the polling stations. First Level Checking of machines has been completed. He also said that there are 4713 Ballot Units, 4557 Control Units and 4945 VVPATs available in the State. Two Master Trainers per Assembly Constituency have been trained at CEO’s Office and training at district level for polling personnel is going on. Adequate emphasis is also given on creating awareness on EVMs. Demonstration Centres were set up in all offices of District Election Officers and Returning Officers for familiarization from 01.12.2021 till date. Besides, Demonstration Vans were also moving around the polling stations across the State. Over 1 lakh mock polled votes were cast at Demonstration Centres and all polling station locations through Mobile Demonstration Vans, the CEO added.
The CEO then said that six assembly constituencies have been identified as Expenditure Sensitive Constituencies: 7-Andro, 22-Wangoi, 23-Mayang Imphal, 28-Thanga 30-Lilong, 58-Churachandpur (ST). 180 Flying Squad Teams, 180 Static Surveillance Teams, 60 Video Surveillance Teams, 60 Video Viewing Teams, 60 Accounting Teams have been appointed and trained and these teams have been activated immediately. A meeting with Enforcement Agencies — Income Tax, Customs, Excise, Narcotics, BSF, CISF, Enforcement Directorate was also held on 10′ December, 2021 and deliberated at length on the expenditure aspects. The ceiling of expenditure by candidate has been enhanced to Rs.28 lakhs. Candidates are required to open separate bank account (atleast one day before filing nomination) for the purpose of expenditure related to elections. Banks have been intimated to facilitate opening of separate bank accounts for candidates and also to report on suspicious cash transactions on daily basis, the CEO added.
According to the CEO, Returning Officers and Assistant Returning Officers have undergone training conducted by IIIDEM on various topics including Qualification, Disqualification, Nomination, Scrutiny, Model Code of Conduct, Expenditure, Postal Ballots, EVMs, Poll Day Arrangement etc. All District Election Officers have also been trained. District Nodal Officers for Model Code of Conduct, Media, EVMs, Expenditure, Complaints, have also been trained.
341 Sector Officers have been appointed and trained and visited the polling stations for identification of vulnerable locations and voter segments. A total of 1099 polling locations and 763 polling locations have been identified as vulnerable and critical. Steps also have been taken to identify history sheeters, trouble mongers and persons causing vulnerability and are bound down under Cr.P.C. As a measure to curb pre poll violence, 11767 licensed arms have been made deposited to the nearest police stations out of 25299 till date. Besides deploying Micro Observers, majority of these Critical & Vulnerable polling stations will be brought under Webcasting/Videography. Additional CAPF will also be deployed in such polling stations.
About 6588 vehicles of different types shall be required for polling personnel and security personnel on poll duty. An additional 3000 heavy vehicles will be requisitioned from Assam and Nagaland. CEO, Manipur appeals government departments and transport associations to extend necessary support to meet the requirements of vehicles.
Five rounds of meeting have been held with recognized National/State Political Parties functioning in Manipur. The political parties have been extending full cooperation during the Revision period and in the run up to Elections by giving valuable feedback and suggestion. Political parties have also been sensitized on EVMs, Model Code of Conduct, Expenditure, c-Vigil, Pre Certification of Political Advertisement, IT Apps. Political parties have also been informed on the requirement of publication of criminal antecedents of candidates in newspapers/TV on three different occasions in addition to publication on their website and to report compliance as per Supreme Court’s order.
State Level MCMC, Pre Certification Committee and District MCMC have been constituted to pre-certify political advertisements and check paid news. Political Parties/Candidates have to apply atleast 48 hours in advance for publication of political advertisements in electronic media including social media. All political advertisements to be published in electronic media shall be mandatorily pre-certified by MCMC.
Permission may be obtained online for holding meetings, campaigns etc. by candidates/political parties 48 hours in advance. Complaints may be lodged through c-Vigil where a complainant may upload picture/video and report MCC violation. Complaint shall be disposed of within 100 minutes. Adequate Flying Squad Teams have been appointed and trained. Adequate publicity on c-Vigil is being done through Newspaper Ads, Hoardings, Social Media etc. Any citizen can also dial Toll Free Number 1950 for any election related queries.
Adequate number of General Observers, Police Observers and Expenditure Observers and are proposed to be deployed across the State. The contact details of Observers will be made available once communicated by ECI.
According to Rajesh Agrawal, various voter awareness activities were taken up at Booth, Assembly Constituency, District and State levels involving youth, PwD, Transgender Icons. Special campaigns were carried out to ensure no eligible voter is left behind. Targetted programmes in collaboration with vital stake holders, NGOs & CSOs working in the field of Persons with Disabilities and Transgenders have been carried out to ensure enrolment of and marking of eligible PwD & Transgender electors in the electoral roll. Extensive social media campaigns were also carried out for online enrolment¬NVSP, Voter portal, Voter Helpline, 1950, PwD App etc. It is worth mentioning that 29% of forms were received online as compared to a meagre 10% in the last revision, he added.
The CEO then said that besides, there was a quantum jump in the enrolment/marking of PwD electors by 94% from 7520 to 14565. Further, 300 lowest voter turnout polling stations were identified under Mission 300 programme and targeted interventions to increase voter turnout in these polling stations have been carried out. Electoral Literacy Clubs at 528 schools and 46 colleges have been established and activated to spread voter education. Besides, Voter Awareness Forums have been established at Directorate Level and District Level Offices. Series of awareness activities for higher voter turnout and informed & ethical voting are also being carried out, the CEO also said.