Icons Ratan, Renedy, Tonthoi to spread voter awareness

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For first time Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail in the pipeline

Three state icons – famous theatre personality Padmashree Ratan Thiyam, international footballer P Renedy and renowned film actress L Tonthoi – will spread awareness to voters during Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) campaigns.

A statement issued by the Election Commission of India here today said the focus of the SVEEP campaign is engagement and participation of electors in the summary revision and preparation of error-free and updated electoral rolls.

“Towards this end three state icons have been identified viz. Padmashree Ratan Thiyam, famous theatre personality, P Renedy, international footballer and L Tonthoi, famous actress,” the statement said.

The commission emphasised the need to identify district level icons. Campus ambassadors have been appointed in all 80 colleges in Manipur to focus on the enrolment of young electors in 18-19 aged categories.

Addressing a press conference chief election commissioner Nasim Zaidi said 18,07,843 voters are enrolled while three lakh eligible voters mostly of youngsters are yet to be enrolled.

He said for the first time in Manipur Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) designed to allow voters to verify their votes cast, to detect possible fraud or malfunction and to provide a means to audit the electronic results will be introduced in some selected assembly segments during the upcoming assembly election.

An eight member Election Commission team led by Zaidi arrived here yesterday to oversee preparation for the Assembly election. Zaidi said the election will be held before the expiry of the current term on March 18.

The commission yesterday met representatives of political parties to understand their issues and concerns and also seek their suggestions for free, fair and peaceful election.

The purpose of the visit is also to examine the status of planning for convenience of voters and to review the arrangement for facilitation and benefit of voters with special needs like PWDs etc.

The commission met DCs, SPs, DIGs/IGs, DGP, home secretary, the chief secretary and other senior officers.

Mass recruitment rallies being initiated by the state government should be discouraged, said Zaidi said adding such practices are indirectly related with the abuse of money for election.

He said flying squads will be engaged and GPS equipped vehicles will be utilised to track the movement of the squads for prompt action.

The commission will take all steps to curb the menace of bribing electors through distribution of cash, liquor, gifts, feast etc and a robust action plan will be prepared and activated well in time, he said.

Stating that there are 2794 polling stations in Manipur he said for free, fair and peaceful election CCTVs coverage, micro observers and Webcasting will be used at maximum polling stations.

Giving preference to incorporate Information Technology in the process of election, he mentioned that a mobile application will be launched. The application will help voters and candidates seeking permissions and expressing grievances during the election.

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