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  1. General election to the Legislative Assemblies of Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Puducherry, 2021

    General election to the Legislative Assemblies of Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Puducherry, 2021
    Schedule for General Election to the Legislative Assembly of West Bengal: 
    Poll Events
    Phase-I (30 ACs)
    Phase-II (30 ACs)
    Phase-III (31 ACs)
    Phase-IV (44 ACs)
    Phase-V (45 ACs)
    Phase-VI (43 ACs)
    Phase-VII (36 ACs)
    Phase-VIII (35 ACs)
    Date of Issue of Notification
    02.03.2021
    (Tuesday)
    05.03.2021
    (Friday)
    12.03.2021
    (Friday)
    16.03.2021
    (Tuesday)
    23.03.2021
    (Tuesday)
    26.03.2021
    (Friday)
    31.03.2021
    (Wednesday)
    31.03.2021
    (Wednesday)
    Last date of making nomination
    09.03.2021
    (Tuesday)
    12.03.2021
    (Friday)
    19.03.2021
    (Friday)
    23.03.2021
    (Tuesday)
    30.03.2021
    (Tuesday)
    03.04.2021
    (Saturday)
    07.04.2021
    (Wednesday)
    07.04.2021
    (Wednesday)
    Date of Scrutiny
    10.03.2021
    (Wednesday)
    15.03.2021
    (Monday)
    20.03.2021
    (Saturday)
    24.03.2021
    (Wednesday)
    31.03.2021
    (Wednesday)
    05.04.2021 
    (Monday)
    08.04.2021 
    (Thursday)
    08.04.2021
    (Thursday)
    Last date of withdrawal
    12.03.2021
    (Friday)
    17.03.2021
    (Wednesday)
    22.03.2021
    (Monday)
    26.03.2021
    (Friday)
    03.04.2021
    (Saturday)
    07.04.2021
    (Wednesday)
    12.04.2021
    (Monday)
    12.04.2021
    (Monday)
    Date of Poll
    27.03.2021
    (Saturday)
    01.04.2021
    (Thursday)
    06.04.2021
    (Tuesday)
    10.04.2021
    (Saturday)
    17.04.2021
    (Saturday)
    22.04.2021
    (Thursday)
    26.04.2021
    (Monday)
    29.04.2021
    (Thursday)
    Date of Counting
    02.05.2021
    (Sunday)
    02.05.2021
    (Sunday)
    02.05.2021
    (Sunday)
    02.05.2021
    (Sunday)
    02.05.2021
    (Sunday)
    02.05.2021
    (Sunday)
    02.05.2021
    (Sunday)
    02.05.2021
    (Sunday)
    Date of completion
    04.05.2021
    (Tuesday)
    04.05.2021
    (Tuesday)
    04.05.2021
    (Tuesday)
    04.05.2021
    (Tuesday)
    04.05.2021
    (Tuesday)
    04.05.2021
    (Tuesday)
    04.05.2021
    (Tuesday)
    04.05.2021
    (Tuesday)
      Schedule for General Election to the Legislative Assembly of Assam: 
    Poll Events
    Phase-I (47 ACs)
    Phase-II (39 ACs)
    Phase-III (40 ACs)
    Date of Issue of Notification
    02.03.2021 
    (Tuesday)
    05.03.2021 
    (Friday)
    12.03.2021 
    (Friday)
    Last date of making nomination
    09.03.2021 
    (Tuesday)
    12.03.2021 
    (Friday)
    19.03.2021 
    (Friday)
     Date of Scrutiny
    10.03.2021 
    (Wednesday)
    15.03.2021 
    (Monday)
    20.03.2021 
    (Saturday)
    Last date of withdrawal
    12.03.2021 
    (Friday)
    17.03.2021 
    (Wednesday)
    22.03.2021 
    (Monday)
    Date of Poll
    27.03.2021 
    (Saturday)
    01.04.2021 
    (Thursday)
    06.04.2021 
    (Tuesday)
    Date of Counting
    02.05.2021 
    (Sunday)
    02.05.2021 
    (Sunday)
    02.05.2021 
    (Sunday)
    Date of completion
    04.05.2021 
    (Tuesday)
    04.05.2021 
    (Tuesday)
    04.05.2021 
    (Tuesday)
     Schedule for General Election to the Legislative Assembly of Kerala: 
    Poll Events
    Single Phase (All 140 ACs)
    Date of Issue of Notification
    12.03.2021 
    (Friday)
    Last date of making nomination
    19.03.2021 
    (Friday)
    Date of Scrutiny
    20.03.2021 
    (Saturday)
    Last date of withdrawal
    22.03.2021 
    (Monday)
    Date of Poll
    06.04.2021 
    (Tuesday)
    Date of Counting
    02.05.2021 
    (Sunday)
    Date of completion
    04.05.2021 
    (Tuesday)
     Schedule for General Election to the Legislative Assembly of Puducherry: 
    Poll Events
    Single Phase (All 30 ACs)
    Date of Issue of Notification
    12.03.2021 
    (Friday)
    Last date of making nomination
    19.03.2021 
    (Friday)
    Date of Scrutiny
    20.03.2021 
    (Saturday)
    Last date of withdrawal
    22.03.2021 
    (Monday)
    Date of Poll
    06.04.2021 
    (Tuesday)
    Date of Counting
    02.05.2021 
    (Sunday)
    Date of completion
    04.05.2021 
    (Tuesday)
    Schedule for General Election to the Legislative Assembly of Tamil Nadu: 
    Poll Events
    Single Phase (All 234 ACs)
    Date of Issue of Notification
    12.03.2021 
    (Friday)
    Last date of making nomination
    19.03.2021 
    (Friday)
    Date of Scrutiny
    20.03.2021 
    (Saturday)
    Last date of withdrawal
    22.03.2021 
    (Monday)
    Date of Poll
    06.04.2021 
    (Tuesday)
    Date of Counting
    02.05.2021 
    (Sunday)
    Date of completion
    04.05.2021 
    (Tuesday)

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  2. General election to the Legislative Assemblies of Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Puducherry, 2021 -Errata - reg

    No. ECI/PN/ 18/2021
    Dated: 27th February, 2021
    PRESS NOTE
    Subject: General Election to the Legislative Assemblies of Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Puducherry, 2021- Errata – reg.
    In continuation to Election Commission of India's Press Note No. ECI/PN/16/2021 dated 26th February, 2021, on the subject cited above, it is stated that there was a typographical error in Para 30(2) and 30(3) at page no. 36 of Press Note, which has been corrected and may be read as under
    2. Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System (ETPBS) for Service Voter: Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System (ETPBS) will transmit blank Postal Ballot through Electronic means to the Service Voters. Service voter can then send his vote through speed post.
    3. cVIGIL Application for filing Model Code of Conduct Violation cases by citizen: cVIGIL provides time-stamped evidentiary proof of the Model Code of Conduct/ Expenditure Violation by empowering every citizen to click a photo or video using his or her smartphone. This app prioritizes the speedy and effective actions by authorities and promised users status reports within 100 minutes. The Application is available on both the Google Play Store and App Store. URL for Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=in.nic.eci.cvigil&hl=en_IN and IOS (App Store): https://apps.apple.com/in/app/cvigil/id1455719541

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  3. Polling in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and for Phase 3 Assembly Constituencies in Assam and West Bengal conducted peacefully Voting held in 1.5 lakh Polling Stations across 475 Assembly Constituencies

    No. ECI/PN/45/2021
    Dated: 6th April, 2021
    Polling in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and for Phase 3 Assembly Constituencies in Assam and West Bengal conducted peacefully 
    Voting held in 1.5 lakh Polling Stations across 475 Assembly Constituencies 
     

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  4. PRESS NOTE

    No. ECI/PN/19/2021 
    Dated: 27th February 2021
     
    PRESS NOTE
    The Commission vide its press note dated 26th February, 2021, had announced the schedule of General Elections to Legislative Assemblies of Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Puducherry. With this announcement, the provisions of Model Code of Conduct has come into force with immediate effect, which includes total ban on the transfers/postings of all officers connected with conduct of elections. It has come to the notice of Commission that Govt. of Assam has, on 26th February 2021, ordered the transfer of 12 IPS and 6 APS officers. The Commission has therefore decided to keep the transfer/posting of these police officers in abeyance till further orders.

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  5. 11th National Voters’ Day (NVD) to be celebrated on 25th January 2021

    No. ECI/PN/06/2021                                                 
    Dated: 24th January 2021
     
    PRESS NOTE
    11th National Voters’ Day (NVD) to be celebrated on 25th January 2021
    Theme for this year’s NVD is ‘Making Our Voters Empowered, Vigilant, Safe and Informed’
     
    Election Commission of India is celebrating 11th National Voters Day on 25th January 2021. 
    Honourable President of India, Sri Ram Nath Kovind will be the Chief Guest at the national function being organized in New Delhi by the Election Commission of India. The event will be held at the Ashok Hotel, New Delhi and the Honourable President shall grace the occasion virtually from Rashtrapati Bhawan.
    Sri Ravi Shankar Prasad, Honourable Union Minister for Law and Justice, Communications and Electronics and Information Technology will grace the function as the Guest of Honour.
    The theme for this year’s NVD, ‘Making Our Voters Empowered, Vigilant, Safe and Informed’, envisages active and participative voters during elections. It also focuses on ECI’s commitment towards conducting elections safely during the COVID-19 pandemic.
    The National Voters’ Day has been celebrated on January 25 every year since 2011, all across the country to mark the foundation day of Election Commission of India, i.e. 25th January 1950. The main purpose of the NVD celebration is to encourage, facilitate and maximize enrolment, especially for the new voters. Dedicated to the voters of the country, the day is utilized to spread awareness among voters and for promoting informed participation in the electoral process. New voters are felicitated and handed over their Elector Photo Identity Card (EPIC) in the NVD functions.
    During the event, the Honourable President of India will confer the National Awards for the year 2020-21 and launch ECI’s Web Radio:‘Hello Voters’. The National Awards for the Best Electoral Practices will be conferred on State and District level officers for their outstanding performance in the conduct of elections in different spheres such as IT initiatives, Security Management, Election Management during COVID-19, Accessible Election and contribution in the field of voter awareness and outreach. National Awards will also be given to important stakeholders like national icons, CSOs and media groups for their valuable contribution towards voters’ awareness. 
    ECI’s Web Radio:‘Hello Voters’: This online digital radio service will stream voter awareness programmes. It will be accessible through a link on the Election Commission of India website. The programming style of Radio Hello Voters has been envisaged to match that of popular FM radio services. It will provide information and education on electoral processes through songs, drama, discussions, spots, stories of elections etc. in Hindi, English and regional languages from all over the country. 
    Sri Ravi Shankar Prasad, Honourable Union Minister for Law and Justice, Communications and Electronics and Information Technology will launch the e-EPIC programme and distribute e-EPICs and Elector Photo Identity Cards to five new voters.  e-EPIC, a digital version of the Elector Photo Identity Card can be accessed through the Voter Helpline App and websites https://voterportal.eci.gov.in/ and https://www.nvsp.in/.  
    Honourable Minister, Mr. Prasad will also release three publications of the Election Commission during the event. Copies of these documents will be presented to the Honourable President of India. 
    Details of the publications are given below:
    Conducting Election During Pandemic- A Photo Journey: This photo book encapsulates the challenging journey of conducting elections amidst a pandemic.  The Commission successfully conducted several elections in the country, beginning with the Biennial Election to the Rajya Sabha.  This was followed by Legislative Assembly Elections in Bihar, one of the biggest such exercises throughout the world during the pandemic. Bye-Elections were also conducted for 60 constituencies in various states of the country.  
    SVEEP Endeavours: Awareness initiatives during Lok Sabha Election, 2019: This book provides a detailed insight into voter awareness interventions, innovations and initiatives during the 17th General Election, conducted in 2019.  It documents the spirit of ‘Desh Ka Mahatyohar’, the biggest festival of democracy celebrated across the nation cutting through the barriers of gender, caste, creed and religion.
    Chalo Karen Matdaan: It is a comic book which aims at voter education in a fun and thought-provoking way. Targeting young, new and future voters, this comic contains interesting and relatable characters to educate voters at large on electoral processes.

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  6. Nation celebrates 11th National Voters’ Day

    No. ECI/PN/07/2021    
    Dated: 25th January, 2021
     
    PRESS NOTE
     
    Nation celebrates 11th National Voters’ Day
    President attends National Level Celebrations in New Delhi in virtual, online mode
    ECI launches digital voter cards, unique web radio
    11th National Voters’ Day was celebrated across the country today on January 25, 2021 with the President of India Shri Ram Nath Kovind gracing the national level event held at New Delhi in a virtual, online mode. Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Minister for Law & Justice, Communications and Electronics and Information Technology graced the event as the Guest of Honour. The Chief Election Commissioner Shri Sunil Arora, Election Commissioners Shri Sushil Chandra, Shri Rajiv Kumar, and Secretary General Shri Umesh Sinha received the dignitaries on the occasion. This year, due to COVID-19, the NVD celebrations all over the country would be a combination of both physical and virtual events.
    The theme for NVD 2021 is ‘Making Our Voters Empowered, Vigilant, Safe and Informed.’ This is a reiteration of the commitment of Election Commission of India (ECI) to conduct COVID-safe elections, as well as to make each voter informed, ethical and vigilant. 
    In his address, President Sh. Ram Nath Kovind said that we should always respect the valuable right to vote. The right to vote is not a simple right; people around the world have struggled a lot for this. Since independence, our Constitution has given equal voting rights to all citizens without any discrimination on the basis of merit, religion, race, caste. For this, we are indebted to the makers of our Constitution.
    The President said that the chief architect of the Indian Constitution, Babasaheb Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar, considered the right to vote as paramount. Therefore, it is the responsibility of all of us, especially our youth, who get the right to vote for the first time, to exercise their franchise with the utmost sincerity and inspire others too to do so.
    Praising the Election Commission of India for conducting successful and safe elections in Bihar, Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh last year during the COVID-19 pandemic, the President said that it is an extraordinary achievement of our democracy. He was happy to note that the Election Commission has taken a number of innovative and timely measures to conduct smooth, inclusive and safe elections.
    Guest of Honour, Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad hailed the profound vision of India’s founding fathers who, despite the overwhelming odds against them, created a framework that would empower every single Indian. Speaking about the launch of digital voter cards, he appreciated the IT efforts of the Election Commission. He said that the officers of the Election Commission and civil and police administrations have played a vital role in ensuring free, fair, and peaceful election during challenging times of COVID-19. 
    Chief Election Commissioner, Shri Sunil Arora reiterated the Commission’s determination in conducting safe and secure elections, which was lauded by democracies across the world. Shri Arora took note of how the tireless efforts of the election machinery ensured that the facility of Postal Ballot was extended to Persons with Disabilities, Senior Citizens above the age of 80 years, and those quarantined due to COVID-19; effectively ensuring that no voter is left behind. As the Commission prepares for upcoming elections in four States and one Union Territory in 2021, Shri Arora emphasized the importance of the commitment towards redefining election management in a pandemic. 
    In his remarks Election Commissioner Shri Sushil Chandra said that the 11th NVD is being celebrated with a view to enhance electoral participation of voters especially the new voters of the country and empower them as informed, ethical and vigilant voter. He said elections in India are a gigantic exercise conducted under superintendence, direction and control of the Commission. The exercise has its own challenges in terms of sheer scale, size, diversity and complexity besides logistics, aiming for free, fair and transparent elections. Timelines demand strict compliance with little room for any delays and mistakes. That is what makes our elections sacrosanct and model for others.
    Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar welcomed the august gathering of dignitaries and awardees to the national celebration of 11th National Voters' Day. His remarks also highlighted the scale and vastness of Indian elections. He said that despite the complexity of Indian elections, they are conducted meticulously, on schedule. He especially welcomed women voters, Persons with Disability, and Senior Citizens on the occasion.
    Two unique digital initiatives were unveiled today. The Commission is rolling out digital voter identity cards or e-EPICs which will be downloadable on mobile phone or in a self-printable form on the computer, after logging in from Voter Helpline Mobile App, Voter Portal (www.voterportal.eci.gov.in) or National Voters' Service Portal (www.nvsp.in/). 
    The Hon'ble President of India launched 'Radio Hello Voters' - a 24x7 online digital radio service that will stream voter awareness programmes accessible on the Election Commission of India website. Radio Hello Voters has been envisaged to provide information on electoral processes through songs, drama, discussions, podcasts, spots, parodies etc. in Hindi, English and different regional languages from all over the country. 
     Guest of Honour, Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad presented five new voters with their Digital Voter ID cards. While only newly enrolled electors with unique mobile number during SSR 2021 can download e-EPIC from 25th January to 31st January 2021 – this facility will be extended to all other electors from 1st February 2021 onwards.
    On this occasion, the President virtually conferred the National Awards for the Best Electoral Practices to Officers for their outstanding performance in the conduct of elections in different spheres. In addition, awards were also conferred on CSOs, Govt. Departments and Media Houses for their outstanding contribution in the field of voter awareness and outreach. Representatives from Political Parties also attended the national function.
    Three publications were launched by Union Minister Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad. The first book, Conducting Elections during Pandemic- A Photo Journey encapsulates the challenging journey of conducting elections amidst a pandemic. The second, SVEEP Endeavours: Awareness Initiatives during Lok Sabha Election 2019 provides a detailed insight into voter awareness interventions, innovations and initiatives during the 17th General Election, conducted in 2019. Chalo Karen Matdaan- a comic book that aims at voter education in a fun and thought-provoking way targeting young, new and future voters was also launched at the event.
    National Voters’ Day is celebrated all over the country on January 25 every year since 2011 to mark the Foundation day of Election Commission of India, which was established on this day in the year 1950. The main purpose of the NVD celebration is to encourage, facilitate and maximize the enrollment, especially for the new voters. Dedicated to the voters of the country, the Day is utilized to spread awareness among voters for promoting informed participation in the electoral process.
    Download link for National Voters’ Day Brochure: 
    https://ecisveep.nic.in/files/file/1391-national-voters-day-2021-brochure/

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  7. Polling for Phase 1 Assam and West Bengal Assembly Constituencies conducted peacefully & successfully

    No. ECI/PN/38/2021                                                    
    Dated: 27th March, 2021
     
    PRESS NOTE
    Polling for Phase 1 Assam and West Bengal Assembly Constituencies conducted peacefully & successfully
    The first phase of Assam and West Bengal Assembly Elections was conducted successfully across 21825 Polling Stations spread over 77 Assembly Constituencies today. The Commission has laid great emphasis on ensuring transparent and vigilant mechanism for inducement and intimidation free elections. 
    The first phase of elections were conducted for 30 Assembly Constituencies in West Bengal. Nearly 74 lakh electorates  across 10,288 Polling Stations are registered to exercise their franchise in this phase. Voting was held in 47 Assembly Constituencies of Assam with a total of 81lakh electorates registered across 11,537 Polling Stations. The number of Polling Stations has increased in view of the fact that the number of voters per polling station has been reduced from 1500 to 1000 keeping social distancing norms in view. 
    As a major push in conducting free and fair elections, live monitoring and webcasting mechanism for more than 50% of Polling Stations including critical and vulnerable polling booths was put in place to ensure safe and secure atmosphere in polling areas. Commission, CEOs, DEOs, Observers could watch live streaming and keep a close watch on these polling booths in Assam and West Bengal. Webcasting arrangements were put in place for 5392 Polling Stations in West Bengal and 5039 Polling Stations in Assam. 
    As an initiative towards inclusive and accessible elections, the option of postal ballot facility has been extended to PwDs, Senior Citizens above the age of 80 years, COVID-19 suspect or affected persons and persons employed in essential services. The Observers were specifically asked to oversee arrangements for facilitation of these voters. 
    For handholding and for guidance of the poll going states the Commission also directed Special Observers to have additional role in supervising deployment of forces and their randomization for poll duties.
    All the Polling Stations were directed to follow COVID-19 Safety protocols. Accordingly it was ensured that the Polling Stations were sanitized one day prior to poll and facility of thermal scanning, hand sanitisers,  face masks were also made available at the Polling Stations. Proper arrangements for social distancing were put in place. Nodal Health Officers have been  designated for State, district and Assembly Constituencies to oversee COVID-19 related arrangements and preventive measures during the entire electoral process. 
    All the 21825 Polling Stations of phase-1 in Assam and West Bengal, have been equipped with Assured Minimum Facilities (AMF) of drinking water, waiting shed, toilet with water facility, adequate arrangements for lighting, ramp of appropriate gradient for wheelchair for PwD electors and a standard voting compartment etc were made available at all the Polling Stations. All arrangements like transport facility, volunteers assisting Persons with Disability and senior citizens have also been put in place.
    During this phase, a total of 10288 Ballot Units (BUs), 10288 Control Units(CUs) and 10288 VVPATs were used in West Bengal and 11,537 Ballot Units (BUs), 11,537 Control Units (CUs) and 11,537 VVPATs were used in Assam. As per standard procedure all these EVMs and VVPATs had already undergone First Level Checking, Randomisation, and Commissioning in the presence of Political Parties/Candidates agents. During FLC and during commissioning each of these EVMs and VVPATs had undergone mock polls. Today before the start of the poll each of the EVMs and VVPATs again underwent a mock poll in the presence of polling agents of the candidates with minimum 50 votes cast on each, as per standard procedure. At the end of the mock poll the result of EVM were matched with the result of VVPAT slips and shown to the polling agents.   Nonfunctioning rate during the poll is lesser than experienced in last few polls. 
    Since the date of notification of Election till first phase, record seizure of Rs. 281.28 Crore has already been achieved for both the states. The seizure figure, which includes seizure of cash, liquor, narcotics, freebies etc, is more than four times higher than the total combined seizure of Rs. 60.91 Crore in GE LA 2016. The Commission has been laying specific emphasis on inducement free elections and curbing the malaise of undue money power, liquor, freebies. Till date Rs. 97.31crore has been seized in Assam (as against a total seizure of Rs. 16.58crore in LA 2016) and a total of 183.97crores for West Bengal (as against a total seizure of Rs 44.33crore in  LA 2016). Total 53 & 85 Expenditure Observers have been deployed in Assam & West Bengal Assembly Elections, 2021 respectively for effective monitoring. In Assam, 603 Flying Squads (FS) and 762 Static Surveillance Teams (SST) were operationalised to check movement of cash, liquor, drugs & freebies. The figures of FS & SST deployed in West Bengal are 1137 & 1012 respectively. In Assam, 06 Air Intelligence Units (AIU) of IT Department are set up at Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Jorhat, Silchar, Tezpur & Lakhimpur. In West Bengal, 03 Air Intelligence Units (AIU) of IT Department are set up at Kolkata, Andal in Durgapur & Bagdogra.
    Election Commission of India’s Cvigil App is a citizen centric mobile application which empowers people to report cases of MCC violations in real time basis, with auto populated details of location etc and responded within 100 minutes after verification at field level. Today a total number of 167 cases of Model Code of Conduct violations were reported through the cVIGIL app from West Bengal out of which 111 were disposed as of 4.30 pm. Similarly 582 cases were reported from Assam with 423 disposed till 4.30 pm.
    Election Commission of India expresses gratitude to all stakeholders specially the voters for their enthusiastic and fearless participation in the election process today. Commission particularly thanks PwD electors, senior citizens, service voters for taking part in elections honoring COVID protocol norms. The voter turnout reported by 5pm from the 30 AC of phase 1 in West Bengal is 79.79%. The poll Percentage reported from the 47 ACs of phase 1 in Assam is 72.14% as of 5pm. 
    ECI also recognizes the services of the entire electoral machinery including polling staff on duty, security personnel, supervisory staff, Observers, Special Observers railway authorities, enforcement agencies as also the Health authorities for making comprehensive arrangements and dedicatedly working towards successful conduct of free, fair, transparent and safe elections despite pandemic. The Commission solicits active cooperation, close collaboration and constructive partnership from all stakeholders including media for delivering smooth and peaceful elections.

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  8. Schedule for bye-elections to fill casual vacancy in the Parliamentary Constituency of Kerala and Tamil Nadu – Regarding.

    No. ECI/PN/ 17/2021
    Dated:  26th February, 2021
     
    PRESS NOTE 
    Subject:  Schedule for bye-elections to fill casual vacancy in the Parliamentary Constituency of Kerala and Tamil Nadu – Regarding. 
    The Commission has decided to hold bye-election to fill vacancies in   6-Malappuram PC of Kerala and 39-Kanniyakumari PC of Tamil Nadu.
    After taking into consideration various factors like local festivals, electoral rolls, weather conditions, movement of forces, pandemic etc., the Commission has decided to hold bye-elections to fill these vacancies as per the programme mentioned as under:  
    Poll Events
    Date and Day
    Date of Issue of Gazette Notification
    12.03.2021
    (Friday)
    Last Date of Nominations
    19.03.2021
    (Friday)
    Date for Scrutiny of Nominations
    20.03.2021
    (Saturday)
    Last Date for Withdrawal of candidatures
    22.03.2021
    (Monday)
    Date of Poll
    06.04.2021
    (Tuesday)
    Date of Counting
    02.05.2021
    (Sunday)
    Date before which election shall be completed
    04.05.2021
    (Tuesday)
    1.   ELECTORAL ROLL
             The Electoral Rolls for the aforesaid Parliamentary and Assembly Constituencies w.r.t 01.01.2021 as the qualifying date has been finally published. 
    2.   ELECTRONIC VOTING MACHINES (EVMs) and VVPATs
             The Commission has decided to use EVMs and VVPATs in the bye-election in all the polling stations. Adequate numbers of EVMs and VVPATs have been made available and all steps have been taken to ensure that the polls are conducted smoothly with the help of these machines.
    3.   IDENTIFICATION OF VOTERS
             In consonance with the past practice, the Commission has decided that the voter's identification shall be mandatory in the aforementioned election at the time of poll. Electoral Photo Identity cards (EPIC) shall be the main document of identification of a voter. However, 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 at the time of poll in the said election. 
    4.   MODEL CODE OF CONDUCT
             The Model code of conduct shall come into force with immediate effect in the district(s) in which the whole or any part of the Assembly constituency going for election is included, subject to partial modification as issued vide Commission’ s instruction No. 437/6/1NST/2016-CCS, dated 29th June, 2017 (available on the commission's website). The Model code of conduct shall be applicable to all candidates, political parties and the state Government concerned. The Model code of conduct shall also be applicable to the Union Government for the district of the State concerned.
             All the instructions issued for General Elections to Legislative Assembly of Bihar, 2020 shall also be applicable to the aforementioned Bye-elections. 
    5.   BROAD GUIDELINES TO BE FOLLOWED DURING THE CONDUCT OF BYE-ELECTIONS DURING COVID-19
             In view of spread of COVID-19, the Commission on 21st August, 2020 has issued broad guidelines, which is to be followed strictly during the conduct of election, which is available on Commission’s website.  The Commission’s all instructions relating to conduct of General Election in Kerala and Tamil Nadu during the COVID-19 period shall also be mutatis mutandis applicable for all bye-elections.

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  9. ECI Statement

    No. ECI/PN/24/2021
    Dated: 5th March 2021
     
    PRESS NOTE
    ECI Statement
    A section of media has cited today i.e. on 5.3.2021  TMC MP’s letter to CEO West Bengal demanding removal of Deputy Election Commissioner incharge of West Bengal Assembly Elections 2021 at ECI.  The following is brought to your kind notice:-
     The complaint in question was apparently given to CEO, West Bengal, who has sent a copy to ECI headquarters.  The Commission would like to categorically state that all our Deputy Election Commissioners and other officials posted in the ECI headquarters and/or working in the field are discharging their duties strictly as per Constitution of India and the various extant rules regarding the conduct of elections.  There could be an odd exception here or there in which case EC takes corrective action immediately.  In the immediate case, the Commission has full faith in the integrity and fairness of Shri Sudeep Jain, DEC. Unfortunately, it is not for the first time that a concerted campaign is mounted against senior officers of the Commission on the eve of/during the process of elections.
       In aforementioned news items mention has been made of allegations cited by TMC about two decisions taken by Shri Jain during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections when also he was Deputy Election Commissioner incharge at ECI of West Bengal Elections. It is clarified that both these decisions were taken by the Commission in the interest of holding free fair and peaceful elections and implemented by the district election machinery under supervision of DEC, Chief Electoral Officer, Police Nodal Officer and other concerned senior officials.  Since, this issue is being raised by other sections of media by queries on WhatsApp/SMS messages etc., a copy of the statement is being put on the website of ECI (eci.gov.in) 

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  10. Schedule for Bye-Elections in Parliamentary and Assembly Constituencies of Various States - reg.

    No. ECI/PN/ 28 /2021
    Dated: 16th March, 2021
     PRESS NOTE
    Subject:  Schedule for Bye-elections in Parliamentary/ Assembly Constituencies of various States – reg.
     The Commission has decided to hold bye-elections to fill vacancies in Two (2) Parliamentary Constituencies of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka and Fourteen (14) vacancies in Assembly Constituencies of various States as per details given below: 
    Sl. No.
    State
    Constituency No. & Name 
    1.    
    Andhra Pradesh
    23-Tirupati (SC)
    2.    
    Karnataka
    2-Belgaum
     
    Sl. No.
    State
    Constituency No. & Name
     
    1.    
    Gujarat
    125– Morva Hadaf (ST)
    2.    
    Jharkhand
    13-Madhupur
    3.    
    Karnataka
    47-Basavakalyan
    4.    
    Karnataka
    59–Maski (ST)
    5.    
    Madhya Pradesh
    55-Damoh
    6.    
    Maharashtra
    252-Pandharpur
    7.    
    Mizoram
    26-Serchhip (ST)
    8.    
    Nagaland
    51-Noksen (ST)
    9.    
    Odisha
    110-Pipili
    10.      
    Rajasthan
    179- Sahara
    11.      
    Rajasthan
    24-Sujangarh (SC)
    12.      
    Rajasthan
    175-Rajsamand
    13.      
    Telangana
    87-Nagarjuna Sagar
    14.      
    Uttarakhand
    49-Salt

    After taking into consideration various factors like local festivals, electoral rolls, weather conditions, movement of forces, pandemic etc., the Commission has decided to hold bye-elections to fill these vacancies as per the programme mentioned as under:
    Poll Events
    Date and Day
    Date of Issue of Gazette Notification
    23.03.2021 (Tuesday)
    Last Date of Nominations
    30.03.2021 (Tuesday)
    Date for Scrutiny of Nominations
    31.03.2021 (Wednesday)
    Last Date for Withdrawal of candidatures
    03.04.2021 (Saturday)
    Date of Poll
    17.04.2021 (Saturday)
    Date of Counting
    02.05.2021 (Sunday)
    Date before which election shall be completed
    04.05.2021 (Tuesday)
    1.   ELECTORAL ROLL
    The Electoral Rolls for the aforesaid Parliamentary and Assembly Constituencies w.r.t 01.01.2021 as the qualifying date has been finally published. 
    2.   ELECTRONIC VOTING MACHINES (EVMs) and VVPATs
             The Commission has decided to use EVMs and VVPATs in these bye-election in all polling stations. Adequate numbers of EVMs and VVPATs have been made available and all steps have been taken to ensure that the polls are conducted smoothly with the help of these machines. 
    3.   IDENTIFICATION OF VOTERS
             In continuance to the existing practice, the voter's identification shall be mandatory in the aforementioned election at the time of poll. Electoral Photo Identity Cards (EPIC) shall be the main document of identification of a voter. However, in order to ensure that no voter is deprived of his/her franchise, if his/her name figures in the electoral rolls, following alternate identity documents are also prescribed:
      Aadhar Card,   MNREGA Job Card,  Passbooks with photograph issued by Bank/Post Office,  Health Insurance Smart Card issued under the scheme of Ministry of Labour,  Driving License,  PAN Card,  Smart Card issued by RGI under NPR, Indian Passport, Pension document with photograph,  Service Identity Cards with photograph issued to employees by Central/State Govt./PSUs/Public Limited Companies, and  Official identity cards issued to MPs/MLAs/MLCs.  4.   MODEL CODE OF CONDUCT
             Model code of conduct shall come into force with immediate effect in the district(s) in which the whole or any part of the Parliamentary/Assembly constituency going for election is included, subject to partial modification as issued vide Commission’ s instruction No. 437/6/1NST/2016-CCS, dated 29th June, 2017 (available on the commission's website https://eci.gov.in/) (copy enclosed). The Model code of conduct shall be applicable to all candidates, political parties and the State government concerned. The Model Code of Conduct shall also be applicable to the Union Government also.        
    5.   VOTER INFORMATION SLIPS (VIS)
    To facilitate the voter to know the serial number of electoral roll of his/her polling station, date of poll, time etc., the Commission vide letter dated 26.02.2021, has decided to issue ‘Voter Information Slip’ to the voters in place of Photo Voter Slip. Voter Information Slip will include information like Polling Station, Date, Time etc. but not the photograph of the voter. Voter Information Slip will be distributed at least 5 days before the date of poll to all enrolled electors, by the District Election Officer. However, Voter Information Slip will not be allowed as proof of identity of voters. It may be recalled that the Commission had discontinued Photo Voter Slips as an identity proof with effect from 28th February, 2019.     
    6.   BROAD GUIDELINES TO BE FOLLOWED DURING THE CONDUCT OF BYE-ELECTIONS DURING COVID-19
    In view of spread of COVID-19, the Commission on 21st August, 2020, issued broad guidelines, which is to be followed strictly during the conduct of elections, which is available on Commission’s website. 
    All instructions issued during General Election to Legislative Assemblies of Bihar, 2020 and General Elections to Legislative Assemblies of 5 States/UT shall also be mutatis mutandis applicable to the aforementioned bye-elections.

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  11. PRESS NOTE

    No. ECI/PN/05/2021                    
    Dated: 15th January 2021
     
    PRESS NOTE
    Many instances have come to the notice of the Commission wherein Chief Electoral Officers and some other officials working directly in the office of Chief Electoral Officers, e.g., Additional Chief Electoral Officers and Joint Chief Electoral Officers, etc. have been victimised after the elections are over. Ironically, in most such instances the concerned officers had discharged their duties in an impartial manner in order to ensure free, fair, robust and ethical elections. After a comprehensive review of this issue and keeping in view such specific instances, Commission has addressed a communication to all concerned vide its letter No. 154/2020, dated 15-01-2021 interalia stating: -
    (i) The state/UT governments shall invariably obtain prior approval of the Commission, if any disciplinary action is initiated against the Chief Electoral Officers and other officers up to Joint Chief Electoral Officer during their tenure and also up to one year from the expiry of last election conducted by them. 
    (ii) Commission has also directed that the State/UT government shall not reduce facilities such as vehicle, security and other facilities/amenities provided to the office of the Chief Electoral Officer for proper discharge of his/her duties.
    2. Commission is sanguine in the expectation that all concerned shall strictly adhere to this regimen in letter as well as in spirit.
    3. Copy of the above instruction is available on the ECI website https://eci.gov.in.

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  12. General Election to the Legislative Assembly of Assam, Kerala,Puducherry, Tamil Nadu & West Bengal, 2021-Allotment of Broadcast/Telecast time to National/State Political Parties-reg.

    No. ECI/PN/25/2021/Communication
    Dated: 9th March, 2021
     
    PRESS NOTE
    Sub:-General Election to the Legislative Assembly of Assam, Kerala, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu & West Bengal, 2021-Allotment of Broadcast/ Telecast time to National/State Political Parties-reg.
    Considering the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and enhanced relevance of non-contact based campaign, Election Commission of India, in consultation with Prasar Bharti Corporation has decided to double the broadcast/telecast time allotted to each National Party and recognized State Party of Assam, Kerala, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu & West Bengal on Doordarshan and All India Radio during the ongoing General Election to the Legislative Assembly of Assam, Kerala, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu & West Bengal, 2021.
    2. A copy of the Commission’s Order No.437/TA-LA/1/2021/Communication, dated 9th March, 2021 regarding allotment of Broadcast/Telecast time to National/State political parties in the General Election to the Legislative Assembly of Assam, Kerala, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu & West Bengal, 2021 is enclosed for the information of the general public.
     

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  13. PRESS RELEASE

    No. ECI/PN/15/2021                                          
    Dated: 22nd February 2021
     
     
    PRESS NOTE
      Dr. Shamsheer Vayalil, Chairman & Managing Director, VPS Healthcare, based in UAE met CEC Shri Sunil Arora today, i.e., 22nd February, 2021 to press for an early resolution of extending the facility of Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System (ETPBS) to the Indian diaspora settled abroad. He was informed that the matter is under active and empathic consideration of ECI and that officers of EC are in touch with their counterparts in Ministry of Law & Justice and Ministry of External Affairs in order to find an early resolution to the issue.
     

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  14. POLL GONE STATES/UT GEAR UP FOR FOOLPROOF COUNTING WHILE HONOURING COVID PROTOCOL ARRANGEMENTS

    POLL GONE STATES/UT GEAR UP FOR FOOLPROOF COUNTING WHILE HONOURING COVID PROTOCOL ARRANGEMENTS

    935 downloads

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  15. Registration of political parties under section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951- Public Notice Period- regarding.

    No. ECI/PN/20/2021                                                 
    Dated: 2nd March 2021
    PRESS NOTE
    Registration of political parties under section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951- Public Notice Period- regarding.
    Registration of political parties is governed by the provisions of section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951. A party seeking registration under the said section with the Commission has to submit an application to the Commission within a period of 30 days following the date of its formation as per guidelines prescribed by the Commission in exercise of the powers conferred by Article 324 of the Constitution of India and Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.  As per existing guidelines, the applicant association is, inter-alia, asked to publish proposed Name of party in two national daily news papers and two local daily newspapers, on two days for submitting objections, if any, with regard to the proposed registration of the party before the Commission within 30 days from such publication. Notice so published is also displayed on the website of the Commission. 
    2. The Commission has announced the General Elections for the Legislative Assemblies of West Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry on 26.02.2021. It has been brought to the notice of the Commission that in view of prevailing restrictions on account of Covid-19, there was dislocation and delay in moving applications for registration, which in turn led to delay in registration as a political Party. Therefore, after considering all aspects of the matter, the Commission has given a relaxation and has reduced the notice period from 30 days to 7 days for the parties who have published their public notice on or before 26.02.2021. For all parties, including of those parties which have already published the public Notice in less than 7 days prior to 26.02.2021, objection, if any, can be submitted latest by 05.30 P.M on 02.03.2021 or by the end of the originally provided 30 days period, whichever is earlier.
    3. This relaxation will remain in force till 19.03.2021 the last date of nomination for the General Election to the Legislative Assemblies of Assam, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry and 07.04.2021 for West Bengal (the last date of nomination for the General to the Legislative Assembly of West Bengal).

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  16. General Elections to the Legislative Assemblies of Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal & Puducherry and Bye Elections to the House of the People and Legislative Assemblies of various states– Ban on Exit Poll.

    No. ECI/PN/37/2021
    Dated: 26th March, 2021
    PRESS NOTE
    Sub: General Elections to the Legislative Assemblies of Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal & Puducherry and Bye Elections to the House of the People and Legislative Assemblies of various states– Ban on Exit Poll.
    Election Commission of India, in exercise of the powers under sub-section(1) of Section 126A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 has notified the period between 7:00 A.M on 27th March, 2021 (Saturday) and 7.30 PM on 29th April, 2021 (Thursday), as the period during which conducting any exit poll and publishing or publicizing the result of exit poll by means of the print or electronic media or in any other manner shall be prohibited in the ongoing General Elections to the Legislative Assemblies of Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal & Puducherry and Bye Elections to the House of the People and Legislative Assemblies of various states issued vide Commission’s Press Note dated 26th February, 2021 and 16th March, 2021.
    Further, under Section 126(1)(b) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, displaying any election matter including results of any opinion poll or any other poll survey, in any electronic media, would be prohibited during the period of 48 hours ending with the hour fixed for conclusion of poll in the respective polling areas in each phase of the aforesaid General election and bye-elections.
    Notification dated 24th March, 2021 issued in this regard is enclosed herewith for the information of all concerned.

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  17. PRESS NOTE

    No. ECI/PN/33/2021                                                    
    Dated: 20th March 2021
     
    PRESS NOTE
    Election Commission in exercise of its plenary powers under Article 324 of the Constitution issued an Order today i.e. 20.03.2021 related to Municipal Corporations whose term have ended and are being run by erstwhile Chairperson(s)/Mayor(s) who are politically affiliated people and have been appointed on completion of their respective elected term by the Government of West Bengal as Administrator(s)/Head of Board of Administrators. It has been directed, inter alia, by the Commission that in order to avoid a situation where critical functions of urban local bodies are actually discharged and thereby affecting level playing field during the operation of Model Code of Conduct or has potential of and/or may give rise to a legitimate apprehension in the mind of the voters about the fairness and impartiality of the election process:
    1. To temporarily restrain such political appointees, who are holding the office of Administrators/ Head of Board of Administrators in the Municipal Corporations of West Bengal on appointment basis after the end of their elected term, from participating in/exercising the functions of the Board during the period the Model Code of Conduct is in force.
    2. That a committee headed by Chief Secretary, West Bengal, and Principal Secretary Urban Development, and Principal Secretary Personnel as members shall appoint the government officials, keeping in view ECI’s instructions dated 18.12.2020 to discharge the functions of the Administrators/ Head of Board of Administrator, as the case may be, during the period of Model Code of Conduct.
    3. That it is expected of Chief Secretary to ensure a level playing field in all other Municipal Bodies in the State of West Bengal by rigorous reviews of their decisions which can disturb the level playing field.
    4. To send compliance of the order by 10:00 hours on 22.03.2021.  
     Detailed order is also available at https://eci.gov.in/

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  18. General Election to the Legislative Assemblies of Assam, Kerala, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu & West Bengal, 2021- Media Coverage during the period referred to in Section 126 of the RP Act, 1951.

    No. ECI/PN/31/2021 
    Date: 17th March, 2021
     
    PRESS NOTE
     
    Sub:   General Election to the Legislative Assemblies of Assam, Kerala, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu & West Bengal, 2021- Media Coverage during the period referred to in Section 126 of the RP Act, 1951. 
             The schedule for holding General Election to the Legislative Assemblies of Assam, Kerala, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, 2021 has been announced on 26.02.2021. Polls in the states are to be held as per the schedule given below: 
                    Name of State/UT
    Phase & Poll date
    Assam
    Three phases – 27/03/2021, 01/04/2021 & 06/04/2021
    Puducherry, Kerala & Tamil Nadu
    Single phase – 06/04/2021
    West Bengal
    Eight Phases - 27/03/2021, 01/04/2021, 06/04/2021, 10/04/2021, 17/04/2021, 22/04/2021, 26/04/2021 & 29/04/2021
     In this regard, attention of all media is invited to the Section 126 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 that prohibits displaying any election matter by means, inter alia, of television or similar apparatus, during the period of 48 hours before the hour fixed for conclusion of poll in a constituency. The relevant portions of the said Section 126 are re-produced below: 
    (126. Prohibition of public meeting during period of forty-eight hours ending with hour fixed for conclusion of poll-
    No person shall-
             (a).....................
             (b) Display to the public any election matter by means of cinematograph, television or other similar apparatus;
             (c)........................
             In any polling area during the period of forty-eight hours ending with the hour fixed for the conclusion of the poll for any election in the polling area. Any person who contravenes the provisions of sub-section (1) shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to two years, or with fine, or with both. In this Section, the expression “election mater” means any.matter intended or   calculated to influence or affect the result of an election  2).      During elections, there are sometimes allegations of violation of the provisions of the above Section 126 of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 by TV channels in the telecast of their panel discussions/debates and other news and current affairs programmes. The Commission has clarified in the past that the said Section 126 prohibits displaying any election matter by means, inter alia, of television or similar apparatus, during the period of 48 hours ending with the hour fixed for conclusion of poll in a constituency. "Election matter" has been defined in that Section as any matter intended or calculated to influence or affect the result of an election. Violation of the aforesaid provisions of Section 126 is punishable with imprisonment up to a period of two years, or with fine or both. 
    3).     The Commission once again reiterates that the TV/Radio channels and cable networks/internet website/social media platforms should ensure that the contents of the programmes telecast/broadcast/ displayed by them during the period of 48 hours referred to in Section 126 do not contain any material, including views/appeals by panelists/participants that may be construed as promoting/ prejudicing the prospect of any particular party or candidate(s) or influencing/ affecting the result of the election. This shall, among other things include display of any opinion poll and of standard debates, analysis, visuals and sound-bytes. 
    4).      In this connection, attention is also invited to Section 126A of the R.P. Act 1951, which prohibits conduct of Exit poll and dissemination of its results during the period mentioned therein, i.e. the hour fixed for commencement of poll in first phase and half an hour after close of poll in last phase in the State. 
    5).      During the period not covered by Section 126, concerned TV/Radio/Cable/FM channels/internet websites/Social Media platforms are free to approach the state/ district/ local authorities for necessary permission for conducting any broadcast/Telecast related events (other than exit polls) which must also conform to the provisions of the model code of conduct, the programme code laid down by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting under the Cable Network  (Regulation)  Act  with  regard to decency,  maintenance  of communal  harmony,  etc.  All Internet websites and Social Media platforms must also comply with the provisions of The Information      Technology      Act,      2000, Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 and ECI guidelines No-491/SM/2013/Communication, dt 25thOctober, 2013, for all political content on their platform. As regards political advertisement, the same needs pre-certification by the Committees set up at State/District level as per the Commission's order  No. 509/75/2004/JS-I, dt 15th April,2004. 
    6).      Attention of all print media is also invited to the guidelines issued by Press Council of India dtd 30.07.2010 and ‘Norms of Journalistic Conduct- 2020’ to follow for observance during the election. (Annexure-I)  
    7).      Attention of the electronic media is invited to the "Guidelines for Election Broadcasts" issued by NBSA dt 3rd March, 2014. (Annexure-II) 
    8).      Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) has also developed a “Voluntary Code of Ethics” for all the participating social media platforms to ensure free, fair & ethical usage of their platforms to maintain integrity of electoral process during the General Elections to the Lok Sabha 2019. As agreed by IAMAI, vide letter dated 23.09.2019, the “Voluntary Code of Ethics” shall be observed during all elections. Accordingly, the Code is also applicable in GE to the Legislative Assemblies of Assam, Kerala, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu & West Bengal, 2021. Attention of all concerned Social Media platforms is invited to the “Voluntary Code of Ethics” dt 20th March, 2019 in this regard. (Annexure-III)
    9).      Attention is also drawn to IT (Guidelines for Intermediaries and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules 2021 for compliance wherever applicable.
    The above advisory should be duly observed by all the concerned media.
    Download file to view Annexure...

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  19. ECI's statement on compliance of COVID norms during the poll process

    ECI's statement on compliance of COVID norms during the poll process

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  20. ECI organizes briefing meeting of General, Police and Expenditure Observers for the Assembly Elections in Assam, Kerala, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.

    No. ECI/PN/21/2021 
    Dated: 3rd March 2021
     
    PRESS NOTE
    ECI organizes briefing meeting of General, Police and Expenditure Observers for the Assembly Elections in Assam, Kerala, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.
    Election Commission of India today organized a briefing meeting for Observers to be deployed for the forthcoming General Election to the Legislative Assemblies of Assam, Kerala, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and West  Bengal 2021 for which schedule was  announced on  26th February, 2021.  More than 1650 Observers today participated  in the briefing meeting physically and virtually from more than 120 remote locations also.  Officers from IAS, IPS, IRS and other Central Services  have been included to be deployed as General, Police and Expenditure Observers.  
    Addressing the Observers, Chief Election Commissioner Shri Arora said that Observers are one of the most important torchbearers of Indian democracy.  Shri Sunil Arora recalled that during his tenure in ECI, since September 2017, he has been associated with 14 Elections of state Assemblies and also the 2019 Lok Sabha General Elections wherein Observers played an important role in the conduct of elections. Taking note of the exemplary  work  accomplished by the CEO and DEOs  of Bihar despite wide spread Covid concerns, Shri Arora said Bihar Assembly elections have literally become a turning point in the history of Indian elections. Even the participation of voters was better than the previous Assembly and Parliamentary elections in Bihar.  Shri Arora said successful conduct of elections is always a combined feat of field officers and ECI where the Observers and Special Observers also play a vital role. He added that, during these elections, Special Observers will have additional role in randomization of forces and its deployment.  CEC said the resilience of Indian democracy lies in the fact that the so-said “Common Man” plays a decisive  role in Government formation. The motto of ECI is to ensure empowered, vigilant, well informed and safe voter.  He reminded the Observers that they should be visible and accessible  to citizens and enable them to vote fearlessly. He warned the observers that ECI will act swiftly and ruthlessly incase anyone is found to be lax in performing their duties. ECI shall not tolerate any willful lapses, he reiterated. Shri Arora asked the Observers to visit the Polling Booths to check due facilitation to senior citizens, Persons with Disabilities and women voters to ensure Commission's commitment to principle of Inclusive Elections.
    Election Commissioner Shri Sushil Chandra said that in the forthcoming elections,  more than 18 crore  voters would be exercising  their right of franchise.  Accounting for social distancing norms,  more than 80,000 polling stations have been added.  He said Observers need to ensure proper direction to Field-level officers so that ECI’s constitutional mandate is scrupulously fulfilled. He called upon Observers for their active interventions and presence which could enable in building confidence among the voters especially in vulnerable areas and make all efforts  to curb money power or vices of liquor and freebies with complete involvement of all enforcement agencies.  Mr Chandra emphasized that Observers should play an important role in making these elections totally inducement free. 
    Addressing the officers, Election Commissioner Shri Rajiv Kumar reminded the Observers  that their own conduct would be under scrutiny by the people, media and political entities.  The  Observers need to ensure exceptional conduct so that legitimacy and sanctity of the Election is kept  intact at any cost.  He said accessibility and visibility of Observers, quality and timeliness of response has to be ensured to establish credibility.  Shri Kumar said the evidentiary value of Observers' reports  many a time become the key factor for ECI to base their judgment.    Shri Kumar reiterated that Observers need to be conversant with all legal provisions, instructions and latest circulars of ECI for effective implementation on the ground.
    The half-day long briefing sessions held today had comprehensive briefing by the Secretary General ECI Shri Umesh Sinha on Election Planning, Security Management & SVEEP aspects. Shri Sinha, who is also incharge of elections in State of Tamil Nadu and UT of Puducherry at ECI, briefed the officers on specific state issues of TN and the UT. Briefing sessions were also held by Senior Deputy Election Commissioner Shri Dharmendra Sharma on Training of Personnel and inputs on Assam (being State incharge of Assam elections at ECI); on Electoral Roll issues and IT applications and EVM VVPAT Management System by Deputy Election Commissioner Shri Sudeep Jain. Shri Jain also covered specific issues of Kerala and West Bengal elections.  On legal issues, MCC and expenditure monitoring, Deputy Election Commissioner Shri Chandra Bhushan Kumar and Director Expenditure Shri Pankaj Shrivastava gave an  overview. Smt Sheyphali Sharan, Spokesperson ECI, briefed the Officers on aspects of Media Certification and Monitoring Committees, Paid News as also Social  Media.
    For these ensuing elections, ECI has extended the option of Postal Ballot facility to the electors who are marked as Persons with Disabilities (PwD), electors above the age of 80 years, electors employed in notified Essential services and electors who are COVID- 19 positive/suspect as certified by competent authority and are in quarantine (home/institutional). Commission’s broad Guidelines for COVID-safe election to be adhered to during the entire election processes for all persons, include increased number of auxiliary Polling stations, Thermal Scanning of all persons, Sanitizer and mask use; larger halls with adequate spacing of counting tables; Adequate number of vehicles mobilized for movement of polling personnel, security personnel to ensure compliance of COVID-19 guidelines as also vaccination for all personnel involved in electoral process.

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  21. Matter of Recounting in Nandigram AC: RO is the Final Authority under Law 

    No. ECI/PN/62/2021
    Dated: 4th May, 2021
    PRESS NOTE
    Matter of Recounting in Nandigram AC: RO is the Final Authority under Law
    Certain sections of media have reported about the matter of recounting in Nandigram AC. Returning Officer (RO) of an Assembly Constituency performs statutory functions under the RP Act, 1951in quasi-judicial capacity independently. Whether it is nomination, polling or counting, the RO acts strictly in accordance with the extant electoral laws, instructions and guidelines of the ECI.
    2.  As far as the media reporting on ‘recount’ concerning Nandigram AC is concerned, as per Rule 63 of the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961, which lays down the process of dealing with recount request,it,inter alia, states,
    On such an application being made the returning officer shall decide the matter and may allow the application in whole or in part or may reject it in toto if it appears to him to be frivolous or unreasonable.
    In the light of the above, the RO takes a decision which can only be challenged through Election Petition under section 80 of the RP Act, 1951, which provides that,
    No election shall be called in question except by an election petition presented in accordance with the provisions of this Part. 
    3.  After the counting in Nandigram AC, the election agent of a particular candidate requested for recount, which was rejected by the RO, through a speaking order, on the basis of material facts available before him in accordance with the provisions of Rule 63, as above, and declared the result. In such a case, only legal remedy is to file an EP before the High Court.   
    4. CEO West Bengal, in this matter of Nandigram AC, has made available a copy of the Order of the RO and other relevant material related to counting. General Observer for the AC has also furnished a report in the matter. From the available material before the Commission, following facts reveal in respect of counting held on 2 May, 2021 in Nandigram AC: 
    I. Each counting table had one micro observer.  Their reports never indicated any impurity of counting process on their respective table. 
    II. The RO caused the entries of votes polled by each candidate after each round to be written on the display board which could be easily seen by the counting agents. No doubt was raised on the result of round-wise counting. This enabled the RO to proceed uninterruptedly with the counting of votes.
     III. On the basis of Form-17C duly completed by the counting supervisors, Returning Officer prepared a round-wise statement.  In addition, on the computer installed in the Counting Hall, parallel tabulation work was also done in an Excel sheet to counter check any human error.
     IV. A copy of each of the rounds’ results was shared with all the counting agents.
     V.  After every round, counting agents signed the result sheets.
     5.   Election related Officers on ground perform in extremely competitive political environment diligently with full transparency and fairness and therefore attribution of any motive in such cases is not desirable.
    6.  On the basis of media reports on undue pressure on the RO Nandigram, Commission directed the Chief Secretary West Bengal on 3 May 2021 to provide adequate security, which State Government has now provided.
    7. The Commission has further directed CEO West Bengal to ensure the safe custody of all election records including polled EVM/VVPAT, videorecording, statutory papers, counting records etc. strictly in accordance with laid down guidelines/instructions of the Commission. He will also coordinate with the State Government for additional security measures at such locations, if required.

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  22. Election Commission of India reviews poll preparedness for Assam Assembly Election

    No. ECI/PN/35/2021                                                    
    Dated: 22nd March 2021
     
    PRESS NOTE
    Election Commission of India reviews poll preparedness for Assam Assembly Election
    The Election Commission of India (ECI) today reviewed poll preparedness for the General Elections to the Assam Legislative Assembly 2021. The review meeting was chaired by the Chief Election Commissioner of India, Sh Sunil Arora, in the presence of Election Commissioners Sh Sushil Chandra and Sh Rajiv Kumar at Tezpur as also later at Guwahati. Commission met with Deputy Commissioners, Superintendents of Police and other senior officers of all districts going to polls in the first and second phase of elections, as also nodal officers of the Enforcement Agencies. Specific review of Covid arrangements was done with Chief Secretary Sh Jishnu Barua and also issues with DGP Assam Sh B Mohanta.
    Sr Deputy Election Commissioner and Incharge of State of Assam at ECI, Sh Dharmendra Sharma, Deputy Election Commissioner Sh Sudeep Jain along with Special General Observer  Sh S. Srinivasan, Special Police Observer Sh Ashok Kumar and Special Expenditure Observer Smt Neena Nigam interacted with State officers. CEO, Assam Sh Nitin Khade, State Police Nodal Officer Sh Deepak Kedia, State Force Coordinator, CAPF Ms Sonal V Mishra, Divisional Commissioners of Upper and North Assam and DIGs of North-Eastern, Northern, Eastern, Central and Central-Western ranges participated in today’s review meeting held at Tezpur.
    Chief Election Commissioner Sh Sunil Arora directed all the officials to ensure that elections in the State of Assam are conducted in a peaceful, free and fair and safe manner with high voter turnout. Sh Arora reiterated that this time Special General and Police Observers have been associated with randomization of State and Central Armed Police Forces to jointly decide the election security plan. 
    Shri Sushil Chandra, Election Commissioner urged to expedite seizures and asked the departments to establish money trail linkages specifically related to election expenditure. He directed the investigative agencies for better co-ordination and collaboration of data, in order to improve their searches and seizure operations during the election period. Shri Rajiv Kumar, Election Commissioner asked all the agencies to continue with their vigil efforts even after the 3-phased election is over in the state of Assam, as the adjoining state, West Bengal will still be having elections. The border check posts need to be functioning strictly, till the election results, in order to deter any illegal goods transfer /crossings across the state borders, he emphasised.
    Special General Observer S. Srinivasan apprised the Commission of the overall status of preparedness in the State, while Special Police Observer Sh Ashok Kumar gave an overview of security measures put in place to ensure smooth conduct of the elections. Special Expenditure Observer Neena Nigam apprised ECI of seizures worth Rs 80 crores made already (as against Rs 16 crores done in previous elections) due to concerted efforts of the Flying Squad Teams and SSTs working round the clock to ensure free and fair elections in the state. 
                  The ECI team today reviewed poll preparedness of Phase I districts at Tezpur while DCs and SPs of second phase districts joined the meeting virtually. DIGs and Divisional Commissioners also apprised the Commission of the activities undertaken as yet. The Commission also met with Nodal officers of Central and State Regulatory Agencies like Excise Department, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Income Tax, Enforcement Directorate, Narcotics Control Bureau, Railway and Airports authorities, Postal Department, Security agencies like  CISF, Railway Police, SSB, State Level Bankers’ Committee etc to review in detail the strategy to curb misuse of money/drugs/liquor & freebies distribution during the election.
                During the meeting, presentations were made by the Deputy Commissioners and Superintendents of Police highlighting the status of poll preparedness in their respective districts. Status of distribution of EPICs, distribution of voter information slips, publishing of Criminal Antecedents by contesting candidates, provisions made at polling stations for voters above 80 years of age along with PwD voters, SVEEP activities being carried out to increase voter turnout, postal ballot status for absentee voters, cash seizures, drive against illicit liquor as also preparations put in place for COVID19 suspects, among others were elaborated upon.  Issues relating to inter-district coordination, deployment of security forces, management plan for remotely located polling stations, communication plan for shadow areas, provisions for webcasting and monitoring, resolution of complaints received over voter helplines and cVIGIL app, availability of Assured Minimum Facilities (AMF) in auxillary Polling Stations, training of security forces, etc. were specifically reviewed.
    Assam is scheduled to go to polls in Three Phases with polls due on March 27,  April 1 and April 6th 2021 for the 126 ACs across 33530 Polling Stations covering more than 2.33 crore electors. 

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  23. Meeting of Union Home Secretary with Election Commission

    No. ECI/PN/04/2021                                         
    Dated: 12th January 2021
     
    PRESS NOTE
    Meeting of Union Home Secretary with Election Commission
    Election Commission of India held an interactive meeting with Union Home Secretary Shri Ajay Bhalla, at Nirvachan Sadan today.
    The meeting was primarily to discuss requirement vis-à-vis availability of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF), and related matters, for the upcoming Assembly Elections to the States of Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal, and the Union Territory of Puducherry. 

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  24. ECI holds meeting with Special Observers appointed for smooth conduct of General Elections to the Legislative Assembly of Assam, Kerala, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal -2021

    No. ECI/PN/22/2021                                            
    Dated: 4th March 2021
    PRESS NOTE
    ECI holds meeting with Special Observers appointed for smooth conduct of General Elections to the Legislative Assembly of Assam, Kerala, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal -2021
    Election Commission of India today organized a briefing meeting with Special Observers associated for the forthcoming General Election to the Legislative Assemblies of Assam, Kerala, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and West  Bengal 2021.  The meeting was held today  in Nirvachan Sadan in the newly refurbished Sukumar Sen Hall dedicated to the memory of First Chief Election Commissioner Sh Sukumar Sen. 
    Welcoming the newly appointed Special Observers, Chief Election Commissioner Sh. Sunil Arora appreciated the Special Observers for playing very important role in the past elections and helping ECI fulfil the Constitutional mandate of conducting free, fair, transparent, impartial an inducement-free Elections. Sh. Arora emphasised on greater coordination amidst all Enforcement Agencies functioning on the ground. He further added that the Special Observers will have additional role in supervising deployment of forces and their randomisation for poll duties.
    Election Commissioner Sh. Sushil Chandra drew their attention to Commission's recent order with respect to webcasting of all vulnerable booths and emphasised on making our elections totally inducement-free. EC Sh. Rajiv Kumar said that the Commission is very happy to have associated with all upright and efficient senior officers in order to conduct elections in a free, fair, transparent and safe manner. 
    The Special Observers, who worked during the previous elections, apprised the Commission of issues and challenges, based on their past experiences. 
    The following Officers have been appointed as Special General, Police and Expenditure Observers in the poll going States of Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal and UT of Puducherry. Sh. Sudarsanam Srinivasan, IAS (Retd.)(OR:80); Sh. Ashok Kumar, IPS (Retd.) TN:82 and Ms. Neena Nigam, IRS (Retd.) (IRS:83) will be the Observers for the State of Assam. Sh Ajay Nayak, IAS (Retd.) (BH:84), Sh. Vivek Dubey, IPS (Retd.) (AP:81) , Sh. B. Murali Kumar, IRS(Retd.) (IRS:1983) will be the Observers for West Bengal. Sh. Deepak Mishra, IPS(Retd.) (AGMUT:84) , Sh. Pushpinder Singh Puniha, IRS (Retd.) (IRS:1985) have been appointed as Observers for Kerala. Alok Chaturvedi, IAS (Retd.)(BH:86), for the State of Tamil Nadu and Sh. Manjeet Singh, IAS (Retd) (RJ:88) for UT of Puducherry whereas Dharmendra Kumar, IPS(Retd.) (AGMUT:84), Ms. Madhu Mahajan, IRS(Retd.) (IRS:1982) and Shri B R Balakrishnan, IRS(Retd.) (IRS:1983) will be the Observers for  both Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. All the Special Observers appointed hold an impeccable and brilliant track record of work in their career. 
    The Special Observers will be visiting their assigned States/UTs and superintend and monitor poll preparedness being done by State and district level officials. They will also have series of meetings with the General, Police and Expenditure Observers deployed in the field.  
     

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  25. Ban on Bike Rallies during 72 hours before the date of poll and poll day in the all poll going constituencies

    No. ECI/PN/34/2021
    Dated: 22nd March 2021
    PRESS NOTE
    Ban on Bike Rallies during 72 hours before the date of poll and poll day in the all poll going constituencies
    It has been brought to the notice of the Commission that in some places bikes are used by some antisocial elements to intimidate the voters before the poll day and on poll day.
    The Commission has considered the above issue and has decided that Bike Rallies shall not be allowed at any place 72 hours before date of poll and on the Poll day in all poll going constituencies. 
    Instructions in this regard has been issued to the Chief Electoral Officers of the poll bound states/UT, which is available at ECI’s website : https://eci.gov.in

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ECI Main websiteThe Election Commission of India is an autonomous constitutional authority responsible for administering election processes in India. The body administers elections to the Lok Sabha, Rajya Sabha, State Legislative Assemblies in India, and the offices of the President and Vice President in the country. The Election Commission operates under the authority of Constitution per Article 324, and subsequently enacted Representation of the People Act. 

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