IMPHAL, August 5: The Chief Election Commissioner of India Dr. SY. Quaraishi, along with other officials of the Election Commission of India (ECI) arrived today in Imphal to take stock of the preparation being made for the ensuing Manipur Legislative Election.
The other officials included election commissioners, VS. Sampath and HS Brahma, deputy election commissioners, JP Prakash and Dr Alok Shukla and director general in-charge of election expenditure DK. Das.
The ECI team is here to review election preparations for the ensuing Manipur State Assembly which is likely to be held in February.
A press conference was also held at the Old secretariat conference hall around 3:30 pm.
Speaking to media persons, Dr. SY. Quaraishi, stated that during the team’s sojourn they met seven political parties one at a time and noted their complaints and suggestions etc.
Quaraishi further disclosed that during the interaction, the political parties apprised the team of rampant malpractices used during election which includes money power and muscle power during election, virtually turning election into ‘selection’ process and also expressed their dissatisfaction on the pace of distribution of photo electoral IDs to voters.
He further maintained that some parties also suggested for maximum deployment of central paramilitary forces and to establish small polling station for more efficient control and monitoring of voting process.
While suggesting finishing of the whole election process within a day, the political parties also suggested for video coverage of all polling booths to ensure more efficient controlling and monitoring.
Dr. SY. Quaraishi further revealed that the team also met officials of the district administration including the DCs concerned and asked them to maintain neutrality while discharging their works. Besides the team has further instructed all concerned to complete the distribution of photo electoral IDs at the earliest possible.
He informed that an external observer team would be arriving in the state on August 17 to monitor the whole preparation and would be camping in the state till the finishing of electoral process.
Taking into consideration of voters’ inconvenience to walk long distances to cast their votes, polling station will be rationalized, said Quaraishi before adding, polling station will be arrange at a walking distance of about one and half kilometer in hill districts and about 2 km in plain districts.
He further informed that for the first time in the North Eastern region, the distribution of voters’ slips will be conducted by election commission officials in Manipur. The system has been a success in Bihar, he further added.
A media cell will be set up in every district of which a senior journalist will be appointed to monitor the operation.
While responding to queries raised by media persons on several issues, Quaraishi informed that no tentative scheduled has been fixed so far for the election. The political parties suggested the election to be organized in early October or February though.
He further stated that to check the used of money power, a separate division for monitoring cash flow during election time will be set up during the election. The division will deploy expenditure observers, flying squads etc.
The divisions will videograph meetings related with election and assessment of expenditures. Moreover, all candidates will be asked to open a separate bank account to monitor expenditure during election.
The ECI team left Imphal in the evening today.