Publication of criminal antecedents of candidates a must: EC

Election Commission of India Headquarter in New Delhi. [Representational Image]
Election Commission of India Headquarter in New Delhi. [Representational Image] ANI

Agartala: All political parties and candidates will have to publish criminal antecedents of their candidates at least three times in newspapers, television channels and on their websites, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Rajiv Kumar said here on Thursday.

The CEC said that all political parties and candidates would have to publish the criminal antecedents of their candidates at least three times in newspapers, television channels and on their websites with reasons for the selection of such candidates.

“People must know the background of all candidates before the election,” the CEC told the media after the full commission headed by Kumar and two Election Commissioners -- Anup Chandra Pandey and Arun Goel - reviewing the poll preparedness of Tripura Assembly elections, expected to be held in later next month.

He said that anyone, including the voter, can lodge complaint with the commission through the cVIGIL app launched by the poll panel. “Through the cVIGIL app, the Commission deals with any complaint on a fast-track basis within 100 minutes. The cVIGIL is an innovative mobile application for citizens to report about the violation of Model Code of Conduct and expenditure during the elections. The cVIGIL stands for Vigilant Citizen and emphasises the proactive and responsible role citizens can play in the conduct of free and fair elections,” the CEC said.

The uniqueness of the app is that it only allows live photo and video with auto location capture from within the app to ensure digital evidence for flying squads to act upon in a time-bound manner, he added.

Kumar said that to make all the process of the election, randomisation of use of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs), deployment of polling personnel, official and the security forces would be done in presence of the Central Observers and senior officials concerned. The CEC said that micro observers would be deployed in all the polling stations and would be the central government officials only.

The full Election Commission accompanied by many senior officials, arrived here on Wednesday afternoon to review the preparations of the forthcoming assembly polls in Tripura.

The poll panel first met the leaders of the political parties and then the state and district level officials, including the District Magistrates and the Superintendent of police of eight districts.

The CEC said that the Commission is determined and committed to holding free, fair, violence-free elections and if anyone, including the officials, fails to follow the Commission’s guidelines and instructions, it would take appropriate actions against the erring officials.

A three-tier security would be provided to the warehouses where the EVM and other poll materials would be stored and the polling stations with the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) would be engaged in the first tier, he said.

Kumar said that appropriate instructions have been given to the Banks and the Reserve Bank of India about the bulk transactions of money while appropriate monitoring arrangements would be put in place about the functioning of social media. The EC also stressed on the need for an inducement-free assembly elections in Tripura, and asked the central and state agencies to take appropriate steps in this regard, officials said.

Ruling BJP, opposition CPI-M, Congress, Trinamool Congress and other parties have separately urged the EC to hold the Assembly polls in a free, fair and peaceful manner.

Tripura Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Gitte Kirankumar Dinkarrao and State Police Nodal Officer G.S. Rao gave a detailed presentation to the Commission regarding poll preparedness and security arrangements for Assembly elections, expected to be held later next month.

The Commission also reviewed the preparations with the Chief Secretary J. K. Sinha, Director General of Police Amitabh Ranjan and all the Secretaries of Tripura government on Thursday.

The full commission and the accompanied officials on Thursday afternoon left for poll-bound Meghalaya.

From Meghalaya, the full EC would go to another poll-bound state Nagaland on January 13 and would return to Delhi on January 15.

After returning to Delhi, the Election Commission would likely announce the schedule of the election in three northeastern states, considering the Class 10 and 12 examinations of the Central Board of Secondary Education.

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