IMPHAL, January 5: The Election Commissioner of India Dr SY Quraishi today convened the third full sitting of the Election Commission of India in the state and reviewed the entire preparation taken up by the state government for the smooth conduct of the ensuing general election in the state scheduled for January 28.
Speaking to media persons during a press conference this evening, the Election Commissioner mentioned that after his arrival in the state this afternoon, he had convened a series of meetings with political parties, state administrative officials, state election officials headed by the state CEO and an inter-state co-ordination meeting attended by dignitaries from the neighbouring states.
Replying to a query from the media persons regarding the status of the Naga Peoples’ Front as a political party in the state of Manipur, the Election Commissioner of India expressed that there is no official report regarding the de-recognition of the NPF as a politicl party from the state as of the time being.
Considering the grievances of the state regarding scarcity of petroleum products in the state, The ECI has further directed the concerned state department and the IOC officials to earmark dedicated oil pumps in the state to supply adequate fuel for the election purpose.
Meanwhile, he further informed that during the political party meeting, representatives of various political parties expressed their concern over the possibilities of rigging of ballot boxes and practice of bogus voting in the ensuing election.
The representatives further urged to expedite the process of issuing voter Id cards/EPIC so as to control bogus voting, he added.
Further deliberating on his meeting with the representatives of all political parties of the state, he stated that representatives of certain parties also alleged the sitting ministers and MLAs of the ruling party of using official vehicles in their election campaigns which is a direct violation of the election model code of conduct.
The political party representatives further charged that the ruling party in the state has influence over the state DGP, and as such demanded immediate transfer of the state police chief to enable free and fair conduct of the ensuing election, Qurashi added.
The Election Commissioner of India further informed the media persons that the ECI after considering the various complains and suggestions of the political parties, had decided during the said meeting to register FIRs against any MLA or ministers who are found using departmental vehicles during their election campaigns.
He further added that acting on the complaints from the political parties, he has directed the transfer and subsequent replacement of the state DGP Y Joykumar. The IPS officer will be replaced by Ratnakar Baral IPS addl DGP (int), he announced.
Coming to his meeting with the administrative officials of the state which was also attended by the chief secretary and addl chief secretary who also holds the post of CEO, DCs, SPs and other officials, Quraishi informed that the whole preparation for the ensuing election was reviewed during the meeting.
Further during the meeting he had instructed the state officials to submit their requirements for the preparation of the state election, he added.
Further briefing the media persons, he deliberated that the centre is ready to help in the preparation of the election and to provide the any requirements including man-power, equipment and other infrastructures and he had the conveyed the same to the state officials during the meeting.
The state officials also remarked during the meeting that the existing law and order situation in the state is in the stage of deterioration due to the existence of insurgency problem, he added.
The officials had further urged him to expedite the process of additional reinforcement of central paramilitary forces in order to control the law and order ahead of the election, he further stated.
Considering the concern of the state officials and its importance to the proper conduct of the election in the state, the ECI has also decided to start the reinforcement of central paramilitary forces from January 10, for which the central government has also assured 26 special trains to be used in the transportation of the security forces into the state, he further announced.
“The 55 income tax officials who are presently in the state to monitor the expenditures of the contesting candidates will start their activities once, the aspiring candidates start filling their nominations” he added.
The ECI has appointed 12 expenditure observers and 16 assistants, 18 general observers for the ensuing election in the state, he stated before adding that the ECI has also formed flying squads that will act as communicator between the ECI and the election observers during the election process. The ECI has also formed surveillance team for the election process in the state.