Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Puducherry assembly election schedule announced
The terms of the Legislative Assemblies of Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Puducherry are normally due to expire as follows:
Tamil NaduÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 22.05.2016
West BengalÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 29.05.2016
KeralaÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 31.05.2016
PuducherryÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 02.06.2016
AssamÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â 05.06.2016
As per the established practice, the Election Commission holds the General Elections to the Legislative Assemblies of the States whose terms expire around the same time, together.
By virtue of its powers, duties and functions under Article 324 read with Article 172(1) of the Constitution of India and Section 15 of Representation of the People Act, 1951, the Commission is required to hold elections to constitute the new Legislative Assemblies in the States of Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Puducherry before expiry of their present terms.
(1)Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Assembly Constituencies
The total number of Assembly Constituencies in the States of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Puducherry and seats reserved for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, as determined by the Delimitation Commission under the Delimitation Act, 2002, are as under: –
(2)Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Electoral Rolls
TheÂ Â electoral rollsÂ Â ofÂ Â allÂ Â the existing Assembly Constituencies in the States/UT ofÂ Â Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, WestÂ Â Bengal and Puducherry have been revised, with reference to 01.01.2016 as the qualifying date, and have been finally published. As per the final rolls, the numbers of elector in these States/UT are as following:
(a) Improvement in the health of the electoral roll: The Commission, after visiting the poll bound states/UT, had directed to conduct a time-bound and systematic drive for the improvement in the quality and health of their respective electoral rolls, so as to enhance their fidelity for the conduct of free and fair elections. During the Special Electoral Roll Purification Drive from 15th to 29th February, 2016, concerted focus was laid on enrolment of all eligible voters, removal of repeated and multiple entries, removal of the entries of dead voters (after due statutory procedure) correction of various types of errors in EPICs and roll data. Wide ranging consultations were also held with the various stakeholders and their valuable suggestions and inputs were duly factored while undertaking the purification drive. This exercise has improved the quality of the electoral rolls in a significant way.
(b) Photo Electoral Rolls
Photo electoral rolls will be used during these general elections and photo percentages in Photo Electoral Rolls of these States are as follows:-
Percentage of Photo Electoral Rolls
(c) Electors Photo Identity Cards (EPIC)
Identification of the voters at the polling booth at the time of poll shall be mandatory. Electors who have been provided with EPIC shall be identified through EPIC. Presently, the EPIC coverage in the States are as under:-
Percentage of EPIC
All the residual electors are advised to obtain their Elector Photo Identity Cards from the Electoral Registration Officers of their Assembly Constituencies, urgently.
In order to ensure that no voter is deprived of his/her franchise, if his/her name figures in the Electoral Rolls, separate instructions will be issued to allow additional documents for identification of voters, if needed.
(d) Photo Voter Slips
To facilitate the voters to know where he/she is enrolled as a voter at a particular polling station and what is his/her serial number in the Electoral roll, the Commission has directed that voter slip bearing the Photo of the elector (wherever present in the roll) will be distributed to all enrolled voters by the District Election Officer. It has also been directed that the said voter slip should be in the languages in which electoral roll is published for that Assembly Constituency. The Commission has laid a special emphasis on the systematic, efficient and timely distribution of the Photo Voter Slips through the Booth Level Officers (BLOs), who are under strict instructions to hand over the voter slip to the elector concerned only and not to any other person. The BLOs shall also maintain a Pre-Printed Register of Voters and take the signatures/thumb impression of person to whom the Photo Voter Slip is delivered. The residual undistributed Voter Slips shall be kept at the Facilitation-desks set up outside each Polling Station on the poll day. The distribution of Photo Voter Slips should be completed atleast 5 days before the date of poll and a very close and rigorous monitoring of the distribution process shall be done by the DEO and General Observer concerned.
(3)Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Polling Stations and Special Facilitation
The number of Polling Stations in the poll going States as on the date of final publication of electoral rolls are as follows:
No. of Polling Stations in 2011
No. ofÂ Polling Stations in 2016
(a) Basic Minimum Facilities (BMF) at Polling Stations:
The Commission has issued instructions to the Chief Electoral Officers of all States to ensure that every Polling Station is equipped with Basic Minimum Facilities (BMF) like drinking water, shed, toilet, ramp for the physically challenged voters and a standard voting compartment etc
(b) Model Polling Stations:
In order to enhance the quality of voting experience for the esteemed electors, both in terms of the ease and comfort of voting, as well as their constructive association with the voting process, the Commission has directed that, as far as practicable, Model Polling Stations shall be set up in all the constituencies of the poll bound states/UT. The Model Polling Stations envision the enhancement in electoral participatory experience of the voters through a three pronged strategy of improved physical structure and facilities of polling premises, systematic and hassle-free queue management and courteous and polite behaviour and conduct of the polling personnel.
(c) Special Arrangement For Women and Differently abled Voters:
(i) Separate Polling Station For Women:Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The Commission has directed that in areas where women folk feel inhibited in mingling with male members because of some local custom or social practice, a separate polling station for women can be provided after getting approval of the Election Commission. Further, in big villages, if two polling stations are to be provided for the village, one may be provided for male electors and the other for female electors.Â In polling stations provided exclusively for women electors, polling personnel also should normally be women. When separate polling stations are provided for men and women of a particular polling area, these should as far as possible be located in the same building for general convenience.
(ii) Facility Of Differently abled Electors: The Commission has issued instructions to ensure that as far as practicable, all polling stations are located at ground floor and sturdy ramps are provided for the convenience of differently abled electors with wheel-chairs. Also, it has been directed that differently abled electors are given priority for entering polling booths, provision for designated parking spaces close to the entrance of polling premise and special care to be provided to electors with speech and hearing impairment.Â Special focus has been laid for the sensitization of the polling personnel regarding the unique needs of the differently abled.
(iii) Facility For Blind Schools: The Commission has instructed that, as far as practicable, separate auxiliary polling station will be set up inside the Blind Schools for ease and facilitation of the inmates and staff.
(iv) Polling Station For Voters Suffering From Leprosy: The Commission has directed that if a leprosy sanatorium is located within the constituency, then, if possible, a separate polling station may be set up for the inmates and staff working in the sanatorium.
(4)Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Deployment Of Polling Personnel And Randomization
Polling parties shall be formed randomly, through special application software. Three-stage randomization will be adopted. First, from a wider district database of eligible officials, a shortlist of a minimum 120% of the required numbers will be randomly picked up. This group will be trained for polling duties. In the second stage, from this trained manpower, actual polling parties as required shall be formed by random selection software in the presence of General Observers. In the third randomization, the polling stations will be allocated randomly just before the polling partyâ€™s departure. There shall be randomization for such Police personnel and Home guards also, who are deployed at the polling stations on the poll day.
(5)Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs)
The poll in these States and UT of Puducherry will be conducted at all polling stations using EVMs. The Commission has already made arrangements to ensure availability of adequate number of EVMs for the smooth conduct of elections. The Commission has issued a new set of instructions with regard to the First Level Check of EVMs, that will be used in the poll in these States. The First Level Check of EVMs, has been done in the presence of representatives of political parties.Â A two-stage randomization of EVMs will be made. In the first stage, all the EVMs stored in the district storage centre will be randomized by the District Election Officer (DEO) in the presence of the representatives of the recognized political parties for assembly constituency-wise allocation. EVMs will be prepared and set for elections after finalization of the contesting candidates. At this stage also, candidates or their agents/representatives will be allowed to check and satisfy themselves in every manner about the functionality of the EVMs. After the EVMs in a constituency are prepared for the poll by the Returning Officer and the ballot units are fitted with ballot papers, the EVMs will again be randomized to decide the actual polling stations in which they will be ultimately used. The Second Stage randomization will be done in the presence of Observers, Candidates or their Election Agents.
(a) Mock Poll: As per the Commission’s instructions, a Mock Poll shall be conducted by the Presiding Officer at each Polling Station before the commencement of actual polling in the presence of the Polling Agents set up by the contesting candidates and a Certificate of successful conduct of the Mock Poll shall be made by the Presiding Officer. Immediately after the conduct of Mock Poll, the CLEAR Button shall be pressed on the EVM and the fact that no votes are recorded in the Control Unit shall be displayed to the Polling Agents present. The Commission has issued directions for ensuring proper training to all the polling personnel regarding the conduct of Mock Poll, as well as to create awareness amongst the political parties, contesting candidates, their polling agents and other stakeholders about the Mock Poll process.
(b) None Of The Above (NOTA) In EVMs: In its judgment dated 27th September, 2013 in Writ Petition (C) No. 161 of 2004, the Supreme Court has directed that there should be a â€œNone of the Aboveâ€ (NOTA) option on the ballot papers and EVMs.
On the Balloting Unit, below the name of the last candidate, there will now be a button for NOTA option so that electors who do not want to vote for any of the candidates can exercise their option by pressing the button against NOTA.Â For the first time, the Commission has provided a new symbol for the NOTA option, which was designed by National Institute of Design (NID). This new symbol will facilitate the voters in casting of their votes.
The Commission is taking steps to bring this to the knowledge of voters and all other stakeholders and to train all field level officials including the polling personnel about the provision of NOTA and its symbol.
(6)Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â VVPAT ( Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail)
VVPAT will be used in all the five poll going states as per the details in the table below:
No. of ACs with VVPAT deployment
VVPATs will be used in a total of 14,066 polling stations across the 5 poll-bound states/UT and the List of Assembly Constituencies in each State where VVPAT will be used in the forthcoming elections is placed at â€œAnnexure VIâ€.
(7)Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Photographs Of Candidates On Ballot Paper
In order to facilitate the electors in identifying the candidates, the Commission has prescribed an additional measure by way of adding provision for printing the photograph of candidate also on the ballot to be displayed on the EVM (Ballot Unit) and on Postal BallotÂ papers. This will also take care of likely confusion when candidates with same or similar names contest from the same constituency. For this purpose, the candidates are required to submit to the Returning Officer, their recent Stamp Size photograph as per the specifications laid down by the Commission. Many of the poll-bound states will be using the photograph of the candidates on the ballot papers for the first time. Instructions have also been issued to ensure necessary publicity of this instruction.
(8)Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Affidavits Of candidates â€“ All Columns To Be Filled In:
In pursuance to the judgment dated 13th September, 2013 passed by the Supreme Court in Writ Petition (C) No. 121 of 2008, which among other things makes it obligatory for the Returning Officer â€œto check whether the information required is fully furnished at the time of filing of affidavit with the nomination paperâ€, the Commission has issued instructions that in the affidavit to be filed along with the nomination paper, candidates are required to fill up all columns.Â If any column in the affidavit is left blank, the Returning Officer will issue a notice to the candidate to file the affidavit with all columns filled in.Â After such notice, if a candidate fails to file affidavit complete in all respect, the nomination paper will be liable to be rejected at the time of scrutiny.Â The Chief Electoral Officers have been directed to brief all Returning Officers about the judgment of the Supreme Court and the Commissionâ€™s instructions.
The Commission has enabled e-filing of Affidavits and expenditure statements to be lodged by candidates. Further, trained Election Commission Return Preparers will be available in each district to assist candidates in e-filing of affidavits and abstract statements and such expenses will be borne by the Commission
(9)Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â District Election Management Plan (DEMP)
The District Election Officers have been asked to prepare a comprehensive district election management plan in consultation with SPs and Sector Officers, including the route plan and communication plan for conduct of elections. These plans will be vetted by the Observers taking into account vulnerability mapping exercise and mapping of critical polling station in accordance with Election Commission of Indiaâ€™s extant instructions.
(10)Â Â Â Â Â Â Communication plan
The Commission attaches great importance to preparation and implementation of a perfect communication plan at the district/constituency level for the smooth conduct of elections and to enable concurrent intervention and mid-course correction on the poll day.Â For the said purpose, the Commission has directed the Chief Electoral Officers of Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Puducherry to coordinate with the officers of Telecommunication Department in the State headquarters, BSNL/MTNL authorities, the representatives of other leading service providers in the States so that network status in the States is assessed and communication shadow areas be identified.Â The CEOs have also been advised to ensure best communication plan in the States/UT and make suitable alternate arrangements in the communication shadow areas by providing Satellite Phones, Wireless sets, Special Runners etc..
(11)Â Â Â Â Â Â Model Code of Conduct
The Model Code of Conduct comes into effect immediately from now onwards. All the provisions of the Model Code will apply to the whole of Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Puducherry and will be applicable to all candidates, political parties and, the State Governments of Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Pudducherry. The Model Code of Conduct shall also be applicable to the Union Government insofar as announcements/policy decisions pertaining. for these States/UT is concerned.
The Commission has made elaborate arrangements for ensuring the effective implementation of the MCC Guidelines. Any violations of these Guidelines would be strictly dealt with and the Commission re-emphasizes that the instructions issued in this regard from time to time should be read and understood by all Political Parties, contesting candidates and their agents/representatives, to avoid any misgivings or lack of information or inadequate understanding/interpretation. The governments of the poll-bound States/UT have also been directed to ensure that no misuse of official machinery/position is done during the MCC period.
(12)Â Â Â Â Â Â Videography/ Webcasting
All critical events will be video-graphed. District Election Officers will arrange sufficient number of video and digital cameras and camera teams for the purpose. The events for videography will include filing of nomination papers and scrutiny thereof, allotment of symbols, First Level Checking, preparations and storage of Electronic Voting Machines, important public meetings, processions etc. during election campaign, process of dispatching of postal ballot papers, polling process in identified vulnerable polling stations, storage of polled EVMs, counting of votes etc. Webcasting, Videography and Digital cameras will also be deployed inside polling booths wherever needed.
(13)Â Â Â Â Â Â Law And Order, Security Arrangements And Deployment Of Forces
Conduct of elections involves elaborate security management, which includesÂ not just the security of polling personnel, polling stations andÂ polling materials, but also the overall security of the election process. Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) are deployed to supplement the local police force in ensuring a peaceful and conducive atmosphere for the smooth conduct of elections in a free, fair and credible manner. Keeping all this in mind, the very designing of the poll schedule, sequencing of multi-phase elections and choice of constituencies for each phase had to follow the logic of force availability and force management.
The Commission has taken various measures to ensure free and fair elections by creating an atmosphere in which each elector is able to access the polling station, without being obstructed or being unduly influenced / intimidated by anybody.
Based on the assessment of the ground situation, Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) and State Armed Police (SAP) drawn from other States will be deployed during these elections. The CAPF shall be deployed well in advance for area domination, route marches in vulnerable pockets, point patrolling and other confidence building measures to re-assure and build faith in the minds of the voters, especially those belonging to the weaker sections, minorities etc. In the LWE areas, CAPF shall be inducted well in time for undertaking area familiarization, hand-holding with local forces and standard protocols regarding IEDs and de-mining/Road Opening and other activities in the LWE areas will be strictly adhered to. The CAPF/SAP shall also be deployed in the Expenditure Sensitive Constituencies and other vulnerable areas and critical polling stations as per the assessment of ground realities by the CEO of the State, in consultation with the various stakeholders.Â Â Â On the Poll-eve, the CAPF/SAP shall take position in and control of the respective polling stations and will be responsible for safeguarding the polling stations and for providing security to the electors and polling personnel on the poll day. Besides, these forces will be used for securing the strong rooms where the EVMs are stored and for securing the counting centers and for other purposes, as required.
The CEOs will ensure a day-to-day monitoring of the activities and deployment of the CAPF/SAP in the states/UT to optimize the usage and effectiveness of these forces for conducting peaceful and transparent elections and inform the Commission periodically. Further, the entire force deployment in the assembly segments shall be under the oversight of the Central Observers deputed by the Commission.
The Commission lays a special emphasis on the advance preventive measures to be taken by the District Magistrates and Police authorities to maintain the Law & Order and to create atmosphere conducive for the conduct of free and fair elections. The Commission will be constantly monitoring the ground situation closely and will take appropriate measures to ensure peaceful, free and fair polls in these States.
(14)Â Â Â Â Â Â Protection To Electors Of SC/ST And Other Weaker Sections:
As per Section 3 (1) (vii) of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, whoever, not being a member of a Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe, forces or intimidates a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe not to vote or to vote for a particular candidate or to vote in a manner other than that provided by law shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months but which may extend to five years and with fine. The Commission has asked the State Governments to bring these provisions to the notice of all concerned for prompt action. In order to bolster the confidence of the voters hailing from vulnerable sections especially SC, STs etc and enhance their conviction and faith in the purity and credibility of the poll process, CAPF/SAP shall be extensively and vigorously utilized in patrolling such areas, conducting route marches and undertaking others necessary confidence building measures under the supervision of the Central Observers.
(15)Â Â Â Â Â Â Election Expenditure Monitoring:
Comprehensive instructions for the purpose of effective monitoring of the election expenditure of the candidates have been issued, which include formation of flying squads, static surveillance Teams, video surveillance Teams, involvement of Investigation Directorates of Income Tax Deptt. etc. State Excise Departments and police authorities have been asked to monitor production, distribution, sale and storage of liquor and other intoxicants during the election process. The functioning and operations of the Flying Squads/Mobile Teams shall be closely monitored using GPS Tracking.
For greater transparency and for ease of monitoring of Election Expenses, Candidates would be required to open a separate bank account and incur their election expenses from that very account. The Investigation Directorate of Income Tax Dept. has been asked to open Air Intelligence unit in the airports of these states and also to gather intelligence and take necessary action against movement of large sum of money in these states.
Some new initiatives taken by the Commission to strengthen the Expenditure Monitoring mechanism are:
(a)Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Modification of the Standard Operating Procedure for Seizure and release of cash: To avoid inconvenience to common people with genuine need for carrying cash, the Standard Operating Procedure for seizure of cash and release has been modified. An appellate body will be in place in every district to attend to petitions from the public. The Committee will suo motu examine each case of seizure by the Police or Flying Squad or Static teams and in suitable cases immediate steps will be taken to release the same.
(b)Â Â Donations received by candidates- to be in cheques or Drafts: The Commission has directed that candidates should not receive any loan or donation exceeding Rs. 20,000/- in cash and all such donations or loans are to be received by cheque or draft or through banking channels only.
(c)Â Â Â Â Accounting of the expenditure incurred for campaign vehicles â€“ on the basis of permissions granted: It came to the notice of the Commission that the candidates take permission from the Returning Officer for use of vehicles for campaign purpose, but some candidates do not show the vehicle hiring charges or fuel expenses in their election expenditure account. Therefore, it has been decided that unless the candidate intimates the R.O. for withdrawing the permission, the notional expenditure on account of campaign vehicles will be calculated based on the number of vehicles for which permissions is granted by the Returning Officer.
(d)Â Filing of part statement of Election Expenditure by Political parties in 30 days: The political parties will be required to file a part expenditure statement in respect of the lump sum payments made to the candidate, within 30 days after declaration of results.
(e)Â Â Account Reconciliation Meeting: In order to reduce litigations relating to expenditure accounts, a reconciliation meeting will be provided before final submission of the accounts, on the 26th day after the declaration of the results.
(16)Â Â Â Â Â Â Media Coverage And Paid News:
To deal with the issue of â€˜Paid Newsâ€™, a mechanism has been laid out with three tier of Media certification and Monitoring Committees (MCMC) at District, State and ECI level. Revised comprehensive instruction on â€˜Paid Newsâ€™ are available on the Commissionâ€™s website.
Necessary instructions have been issued to the CEOs of Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Puducherry to ensure briefing of political parties and Media in the districts about â€˜Paid Newsâ€™ and the mechanism to check â€˜Paid Newsâ€™. The MCMCs of all states have been trained to do their job.
(17)Â Â Â Â Â Â Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP)
Comprehensive measures for votersâ€™ education were taken up during the Special Roll Revision process in the states. These measures will continue and will be further augmented during the electoral process.
10% of the lowest turnout Polling Stations in each district have been identified and possible reasons for the lower turnout analyzed. KABBP (Knowledge, Attitude, Behaviour, Belief and Practices) survey has also been undertaken by the Chief Electoral Officers and interventions based on the findings have been taken up.
Chief Electoral Officer of the States have been directed to ensure wide dissemination of election related information as well as adequate facilitation measures for ensuing wider participation of people in polling. Model polling stations will be set up in each of the assembly constituencies. Voter helplines, Votersâ€™ Facilitation Centres, web and SMS based search facilities are active for assistance of voters. Reminder services on poll days have been meticulously planned. There are special facilities in place for persons with disability.
As per the directions of the Commission, Booth Awareness Groups shall be activated at the Polling Stations for educating the Voters and motivating them for informed and ethical voting.
(18)Â Â Â Â Â Â Deployment Of Central Observers:
a.Â Â Â Â Â General Observers
The Commission will deploy General Observers in adequate number to ensure smooth conduct of elections. The Observers will be asked to keep a close watch on every stage of the electoral process to ensure free and fair elections. Their names, addresses within the district/constituency and their telephone numbers will be publicized in local newspapers so that the general public can quickly approach them for any grievance redressal. The Observers will be given a detailed briefing by the Commission before their deployment. The Observers will fix a suitable time every day for meeting the political parties, candidates and other stakeholders to redress their election related grievances.
b.Â Â Â Â Police Observers.
The Commission may deploy IPS officers as Police Observers in district level, in the poll going States depending upon the need and sensitivity. They will monitor all activities relating to force deployment, law and order situation and co-ordinate between civil and Police administration to ensure free and fair election.
c.Â Â Â Â Â Expenditure Observers.
The Commission has also decided to appoint adequate number of Expenditure Observers and Assistant Expenditure Observers who will exclusively monitor the election expenditure of the contesting candidates. Control room and Complaint Monitoring Centre with 24 hours toll free numbers shall be operative during the entire election process. Banks and financial intelligence units of Government of India have been asked to forward suspicious cash withdrawal reports to the election officials. Comprehensive instructions for the purpose of effective monitoring of the election expenditure of the candidates have been separately issued by the Commission and are available at ECI website <www.eci.nic.in >.
d.Â Â Â Â Micro Observers
As per the extant instructions, the General Observers will also deploy Micro-Observers, from amongst Central Government/PSUs Officials, to observe the poll proceedings on the poll day in critical/vulnerable polling stations. Micro-Observers will observe the proceedings at the polling stations on the poll day, right from the conduct of mock poll, to the completion of poll and the process of sealing of EVMs and other documents so as to ensure that all instructions of the Commission are complied with by the Polling Parties and the Polling Agents. They will report to the General Observers directly regarding any vitiation of the poll proceedings in their allotted polling stations.
e.Â Â Â Â Â Awareness Observers:
Awareness Observers from Central Government are also being appointed to observe the SVEEP programme carried out during the election period for assessing the level of facilitation, information and motivational programmes at the field level.
(19)Â Â Â Â Â Â Conduct of Officials
The Commission expects all officials engaged in the conduct of elections to discharge their duties in an impartial manner without any fear or favour. They are deemed to be on deputation to the Commission and shall be subject to its control, supervision and discipline. The conduct of all Government officials who have been entrusted with election related responsibilities and duties would remain under constant scrutiny of the Commission and strict action shall be taken against those officials who are found wanting on any account.
The Commission has already given instructions that no election related official or Police officer of the rank of Inspector and above shall be allowed to continue in his home district. Besides, instructions have also been issued that election related officials including police officials of Inspector level & above who have completed three years in a district during last four years should be transferred out of that district. Police officers of the rank of Sub Inspectors who have completed three years in a Sub Division/Assembly Constituency or are posted in their home sub division/assembly constituency shall be transferred out of that Sub Division and the Assembly Constituency.
The Commission has also instructed the State Governments not to associate any officer with the electoral process against whom charges have been framed in a court of law in any case.
(20)Â Â Â Â Â Â Complaint Redressal Mechanism â€“ Call Center And Website Based
The poll going States shall have a complaint redressal mechanism based on website and call center. The number of call center is 1950, which is a toll free number. The URL of the complaint registration website will be announced for the State by the Chief Electoral Officers separately. Complaints can be registered by making calls to the toll free call center numbers or on the web site. Action will be taken within time limit on all complaints. Complainants will also be informed of the action taken by SMS and by the call center. Complainants can also see the details of the action taken on their complaints on the website.
(21)Â Â Â Â Â Â New IT Applications To Be Used For Forthcoming General Elections:
(a) Redressal Arrangements
This application shall be provided so that the people / political party can lodge their complaints on the common platform for all complaints received from all sources. Mobile app shall be made available for the people so that they can submit complaints with photographs / videos on the common platform. SMS is sent to complainant on receipt / disposal of complaint. Complainant can track status and view ATR online through the android App.
(b)Single Window System
A single window system for giving election related permissions/clearances within 24 hours has been created. In this system, Candidates and Political Parties can apply for permissions for Meetings, Rallies, vehicles, temporary election office, loudspeakers etc at a single location, where back-end convergence of various authorities/departments has been done. This system is put in place at every RO level in each sub-division which will provide for applying, processing, granting and monitoring permissions in a synergistic manner. However, in case of permissions for Helicopter usage/landing and use of helipads, the application shall have to be submitted atleast 36 hours in advance.
(c) Vehicle Management System
It is a Vehicle Management System with the facility of Issuance of requisition letters for vehicles, Capturing of vehicle details with address, mobile number and bank details of Owner & Driver, Transfer of vehicles from one district to another district etc.
(d)Â Use of webcasting / CCTV at polling stations:
WebcastingÂ at selected distant polling stationsÂ for LIVE monitoring of election process, to keep a check on illegal activities such as booth capturing, money distribution and bogus voting and to bring about complete transparency in the voting process shall be done. Further, during the election process, CCTV monitoring and webcasting shall also be done at various border check-posts, check-nakas and other sensitive and critical locations across the constituencies to keep a strict vigil on any nefarious activities designed to vitiate the electoral process.
(e) Polling / Police Personnel Deployment Plan
This application will be used for creating database of Police / Polling personnel, generation of command / appointment letters, sending SMS regarding deputation / training, tagging of patrolling party with force, generation of application for postal ballot, formation of polling party / police party after randomization, for sending polling personnel / police force from one district to another district etc.
(f) Voter Centric Information Dissemination Initiatives:
It is the constant endeavour of the Commission to facilitate the voters across the country in accessing the multifarious election related services and information. As part of this vision, an SMS Based search facility and Voter Friendly Interactive Website has already been launched and successfully working.
(22)Â Â Â Â Â Â Poll Day Monitoring System
A constant and stringent 24-hour monitoring of the critical events and activities of the poll day shall be done using the Poll Day Monitoring System. All the crucial events like reaching of Polling Parties, PS Image, Votes Cast, Votersâ€™ Images etc shall be captured and monitored using this state-of-the-art IT application, which has the added advantage of being usedÂ offline also, so as to circumvent non-connectivity of network. All data captured offline is synchronized with the centralized server as soon as the person using the App comes in the coverage area. Through this App, we can find out Voter Turnout (VTR) gender-wise, age-wise and section-wise. Improvement of quality of image in the roll can also be done through this App as we get the recent colour photograph of the voter against old / bad quality photograph in the roll.
(23)Â Â Â Â Â Â Schedules of Election
The Commission has prepared the Schedules for holding General Elections to the Legislative Assemblies of Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Puducherry after taking into consideration all relevant aspects, like the climatic conditions, academic calendar, major festivals, prevailing law and order situation in the States, availability of Central Police Forces, time needed for movement, transportation and timely deployment of forces and in-depth assessment of other relevant ground realities.
The Commission after considering all relevant aspects has decided to recommend to the Governors of the State of Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Kerala and the Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry to issue notifications for the General Elections to their respective states under the relevant provisions of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, as per the schedule annexed.