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  1. COVID-19 vaccination drive begins at ECI headquarters

    No. ECI/PN/23/2021 
    Dated: 4th March 2021
     
    PRESS NOTE
    COVID-19 vaccination drive begins at ECI headquarters
    Election Commission of India today started COVID-19 vaccination drive for its officers and staff working at Nirvachan Sadan, Delhi. Former Chief Election Commissioner Shri. M.S. Gill, took the first shot of vaccine, to mark the beginning of the vaccination drive. Chief Election Commissioner of India Shri Sunil Arora and Election Commissioners Shri Sushil Chandra and Shri Rajiv Kumar will get vaccinated after all the officials and staff at Election Commission have benefitted from the vaccination programme. 
    The Chief Election Commissioner, Shri Sunil Arora recently announced that all staff on poll duty for the upcoming assembly elections have been declared as ‘frontline workers’ and therefore will be vaccinated before assuming their election duties. He added that, the vaccination would encourage the poll duty officers to perform their duty without any COVID fear. Mr. Arora further said that the nationwide vaccination drive has made the situation more conducive for conducting elections. Special camp has also been setup at ECI with provision of doctors, ambulance etc.
    Under the special vaccination drive, lakhs of polling officials across five states and UT will take the vaccination shots before proceeding on election duty for the upcoming assembly elections.

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  2. Curtain Raiser ECI going to host International Virtual Election Visitors Programme 2021 during Elections for Legislative Assemblies of Assam, Kerala, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal (05- 06 April 2021)

    No. ECI/PN/43/2021
    Dated: 4th April 2021
     
    PRESS NOTE
    Curtain Raiser 
    ECI going to host International Virtual Election Visitors Programme 2021 
    during  Elections for Legislative Assemblies of Assam, Kerala, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal [05- 06 April  2021] 
    Election Commission of India is going to organize International   Virtual Election Visitors Programme (IEVP) 2021 for foreign Election Management Bodies (EMBs) / Organisations from  05-06 April 2021 during the ongoing    Elections for  Legislative Assemblies of Assam, Kerala, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.  
    2. In the past, ECI has organized  International Election Visitor Programmes (IEVP) for  foreign EMBs/Organizations in 2014 Lok Sabha elections; elections for a few State Assemblies in Feb/March 2017; Lok Sabha Elections in May 2019 and International   Virtual Election Visitors Programme  2020 during Bihar Assembly elections.  The purpose of IEVP is to familiarise fellow  EMBs/Organisations from abroad  with our electoral system and best practices adopted in the world’s largest democracy.    
    3. The ongoing elections  in Assam, Kerala, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal have  an electorate of over 187.2 million, one of the largest in the world to vote so far amid the COVID19 pandemic.  It is a good opportunity to share our best practices and experience of conduct of our poll process as well as steps taken  to mitigate the effect of pandemic. 
    4. Over 106 delegates from over 26 countries across the world including  Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Cambodia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Republic of Korea, Madagascar,   Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius,   Mongolia, Nepal, Panama, Philippines, Romania, Russia,  South Africa, Suriname,   Ukraine,  Uzbekistan and Zambia etc.  and 3 international organizations (viz. International IDEA,  International Foundation of Electoral Systems (IFES) and Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB)  are going to  participate in the IEVP 2021.  
    5. Besides that, the Ambassadors of Georgia and Uzbekistan, Acting High Commissioner of Sri Lanka and other members of Diplomatic Corps are also going to attend the IEVP 2021.
    6. The Programme for IEVP 2021 comprises a briefing session online on 05 April 2021 which would provide to the participants an  overview of the large canvas of Indian electoral process, the new initiatives taken by ECI on voter facilitation, transparency and accessibility of electoral system;  ECI’s response to  the changing needs of training and capacity building and the new formats necessitated by Covid 19 and  provide insights into the elections underway in the states of Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and the Union Territory of Puducherry.    With an electorate of more than 187.2 million, these elections pose formidable challenges and the preparations  made to address them as well as the unique initiatives taken to conduct a Covid safe election.  In the inaugural session the participants will be addressed by Shri Rajiv Kumar and Shri Sushil Chandra, Hon’ble Election Commissioners followed by Keynote Address by Shri Sunil Arora, Hon’ble Chief Election Commissioner of India and Chairperson, A-WEB.  
    7. On the sidelines of IEVP 2021, ECI would also be releasing the Inaugural issue of A-WEB Journal of Elections.   The Journal, published by the India A-WEB Centre (http://indiaawebcentre.org/ ) set up in 2019 at the ECI,   carries  Research Papers, Articles, Book Reviews etc from Eminent Writers, Experts, Researchers  and Practitioners from the A-WEB Community and from across democracies of the world in the area of Elections and Electoral Democracy.  A-WEB India Journal of Elections  is envisaged to be a Journal of the highest international standards and will  include peer reviewed contributions from members of the A-WEB community and beyond.
    8. On 06 April 2021,   the  delegates  will be given a live snapshot of how elections are conducted at some polling stations including familiarization with the electoral process ,polling station arrangements, ,facilitation of Persons with disabilities and senior citizens, and  interaction with various stakeholders .

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  3. Deferment of elections in 03 ACs due to surge in COVID-19-reg.

    No. ECI/PN/61/2021
    Dated: 3rd May 2021
    PRESS NOTE
    Subject- Deferment of elections in 03 ACs due to surge in COVID-19-reg.
    The adjourned poll in 110-Pipli AC (bye-election) of Odisha and 58-Jangipur, 56-Samserganj assembly constituencies of West Bengal due to death of contesting candidates of recognized political parties, are scheduled to be held on 16.05.2021.
    2. Commission after taking all material facts and inputs of CEO West Bengal and CEO Odisha in consideration and taking note of lockdown/restrictions under Disaster Management Act, 2005, as issued by NDMA/SDMA has decided to defer the scheduled poll and extend the period of elections in 110-Pipli AC of Odisha and 58-Jangipur & 56-Samserganj assembly constituencies of West Bengal. Fresh notification will be issued after assessing the pandemic situation.
    3. It is also directed that MCC in these Assembly Constituencies is hereby lifted from immediate effect and will be in operation from next date of notification.

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  4. DELIMITATION COMMISSION HOLDS MEETING TO SEEK VIEWS ON DELIMITATION PROCESS OF UT OF JAMMU AND KASHMIR.

    No. DC/PN/1/2021                                         
    Date : 18th February 2021
     
    PRESS NOTE
    DELIMITATION COMMISSION HOLDS MEETING TO SEEK VIEWS ON DELIMITATION PROCESS OF UT OF JAMMU AND KASHMIR.
    Delimitation Commission comprising of Chairperson Retd. Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai, Ex-Officio Member Shri Sushil Chandra (Election Commissioner) and Ex-Officio Member, Shri K.K Sharma (State Election Commissioner, J&K) today held a meeting in New Delhi with the Associate Members from Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, for seeking their suggestion/views on the process of delimitation in respect of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. 
    Chairperson Justice Desai welcomed Associate Members namely Dr. Jitendra Singh MoS & MP and  Shri Jugal Kishore Sharma, MP to the meeting. While Delimitation Commission had sent written intimation to all five Associated Members namely Dr Farooq Abdullah, Shri Mohammad Akbar Lone, Shri Hasnain Masoodi Shri Jugal Kishore Sharma and Dr. Jitendra Singh on 5th February 2021 itself, only two Members attended today's meeting.
    An overview on the process of delimitation based on the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganization Act, 2019 and Delimitation Act, 2002 was presented before the Members detailing various Sections of these Acts related to the delimitation exercise of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir. 
    The two Associate Members appreciated Commission’s efforts and suggested that delimitation of Constituencies shall be as far as practicable, be for geographically compact areas and while delimiting them regard shall be given to physical features; existing boundaries of administrative units; facilities of communication and public convenience. They also suggested to give special attention to the difficult terrains while carrying out the delimitation exercise in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.
    Election Commissioner, Shri Sushil Chandra, welcomed their valuable inputs and expressed satisfaction of the Delimitation Commission on the suggestions and views of the Associate Members. The Members desired to put forward more suggestions in coming days. 

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  5. ECI condoles passing away of Former EC Dr. GVG Krishnamurty

    No. ECI/PN/49/2021
    Dated: 14th April 2021
    PRESS NOTE
    ECI Condoles passing away of Former EC Dr. GVG Krishnamurty
    Election Commission of India deeply mourns the passing away of Former Election Commissioner Dr GVG Krishnamurty. Aged 86 yrs Former Election Commissioner of India Dr Krishnamurty, breathed his last at about 10am today due to age related ailments. He is survived by his wife Mrs Padma Murty and his son Dr. G.V.Rao, Senior Advocate Supreme Court of India and daughter Dr.Radha Bodapati.
    Mourning the loss of an illustrious former member of ECI family, Chief Election Commissioner Sh Sushil Chandra recalled that Dr GVG Krishnamurty made exemplary contribution during his tenure in the Commission as Election Commissioner from 1st October 1993 to 30th September 1996. His contributions particularly in strengthening Laws and procedures of conducting elections will be long remembered by the Commission.
    Dr Krishnamurty’s last rites were held at Lodhi Road crematorium, Delhi. A wreath on behalf of ECI was laid in his honour.

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  6. ECI decides to defer bye-elections of Parliamentary and Assembly Constituencies in various States/UT in view of Pandemic-Regarding.

    No. ECI/PN/64/2021                                                    
    Dated: 5th May 2021
     
    PRESS NOTE
    Subject: ECI decides to defer bye-elections of Parliamentary and Assembly Constituencies in various States/UT in view of Pandemic- Regarding.
    There are notified three vacancies in Parliamentary Constituencies namely Dadra & Nagar Haveli, 28-Khandwa (Madhya Pradesh) & 2-Mandi (Himachal Pradesh) and eight vacancies in Assembly Constituencies namely 01-Kalka and 46-Ellenabad in Haryana, 155-Vallabhnagar in Rajasthan, 33-Sindgi in Karnataka, 47-Rajabala and 13-Mawryngkneng (ST) in Meghalaya, 08-Fatehpur in Himachal Pradesh and 124-Badvel (SC) in Andhra Pradesh. There are few more vacancies of seats for which reports and notifications are awaited and being confirmed.
     2. As per the provisions of section 151A of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, the vacancies are required to be filled, through bye-elections within six months from the date of occurrence of vacancy, provided that the remainder of the term in relation to the vacancy is one year or more.
     3. The Commission has reviewed the matter today and has decided that due to outbreak of the second wave of COVID-19 in the country it would not be appropriate to hold bye-elections till the pandemic situation significantly improves and conditions become conducive to hold these bye-elections. 
     4. The Commission will take a decision in the matter at appropriate time in the future after taking inputs from the concerned states and assessing the pandemic situation from mandated authorities like NDMA/SDMA.

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  7. ECI holds a review meeting with CEOs of five states

    No. ECI/PN/72/2021
    Dated:  28th July, 2021
     
    ECI holds a review meeting with CEOs of five states
    The Election Commission of India held a review meeting on advance planning for forthcoming elections with the Chief Electoral Officers of the five states namely Goa, Manipur, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, today at Nirvachan Sadan. 

    The preliminary meeting held was focussed on various thematic issues including Assured Minimum Facilities (AMF) at the polling stations, ease of registration arrangements for voter facilitation, electoral roll, timely resolution of grievances, arrangements of EVMs/VVPATs, postal ballot facility for senior citizens (80+) and PwDs, COVID Mitigation plan, training of polling staff and extensive voter outreach amongst others. 
    Chief Election Commissioner Shri Sushil Chandra in his address said that transparency and impartiality are the hallmark of the election process. He added that issues & challenges may be different in each state, but election planning needs to have a voter-centric approach and participative decision making involving all stakeholders.
    During his address, CEC Shri Sushil Chandra stressed on the significance of the purity of the electoral roll and asked the CEOs for expeditious redressal of all pending applications with regard to voter registration. He also emphasized on the need for rationalization of polling stations keeping in view the COVID 19 pandemic and reiterated the need to have basic facilities & infrastructure in all polling stations. Adding further, Shri Chandra mentioned that all logistical challenges in implementation of postal ballot facility to senior citizens (80+) and persons with disabilities need to be identified & resolved for its smooth & transparent implementation during the elections. 
    CEC Shri Sushil Chandra while interacting with the CEOs said that states should learn and adopt innovations and best practices in election management from the poll gone states or other States/UTs.
    Election Commissioner Shri Anup Chandra Pandey while interacting with the CEOs emphasized that periodic & comprehensive monitoring on each aspect of election should be done by all the poll going CEOs.  He highlighted the need to activate the ground level election machinery in the five states to start the preparations for the forthcoming elections. He mentioned that CEOs should focus on filling up infrastructure gaps & logistics requirement, updation & purification of electoral rolls and an extensive voter education & empowerment outreach program. 
    Secretary General Shri Umesh Sinha in his welcome address said that election planning is critical for election management and every election needs comprehensive and timely preparation. He added that this pre-planning meeting was organized for the states to seek the guidance of the commission in ensuring proper arrangements and further preparations for the upcoming elections in the five states. 
    The Chief Electoral Officers from the five states gave a detailed presentation on various aspect of conduct of election including health of electoral roll, availability of budget, manpower resources, SVEEP, planning, polling station arrangements and IT applications, etc. The meeting was also attended by all Senior Deputy Election Commissioner, Deputy Election Commissioner’s & other senior officials from the Election Commission of India.
     

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  8. 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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  9. ECI hosts 2 day International Virtual Election Visitors Programme (IVEP) 2021 on April 5-6, 2021

    No. ECI/PN/44/2021                                                   
    Dated: 5th April, 2021
    PRESS NOTE
     
     
    ECI hosts 2 day International Virtual Election Visitors Programme (IVEP) 2021 on April 5-6, 2021
    Inaugural issue of A-WEB India Journal of Elections released by CEC
    A-WEB India Journal of Elections to bridge the gap between academics & practice in the electoral landscape: CEC Shri Sunil Arora
    More than 100 delegates from 26 countries participate in the two day event
     
    Election Commission of India today hosted International Virtual Election Visitors Programme (IEVP) 2021 for Election Management Bodies (EMBs) /Organisations from 26 countries  and three International Organisations during the ongoing elections for Legislative Assemblies of Assam, Kerala, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal. 
    Chief Election Commissioner Shri Sunil Arora in his inaugural address said that the Covid 19 has led to an unprecedented disruption in election schedules all over the world and while the challenges for conducting elections were numerous, it also has presented an opportunity that brought Election Management Bodies together to share and learn from each others' best practices. Adding further, Shri Arora also touched upon ECI’s experience of conducting elections to the Bihar Legislative Assembly during these tough and testing times. Sh Arora stressed that the objective of the Election Commission amidst pandemic is to conduct free, fair, transparent, robust and safe elections. 
    On the sidelines of IEVP 2021, the Chief Election Commissioner also released the maiden issue of A-WEB India Journal of Elections today. Shri Sunil Arora while releasing the journal, emphasized that this academic journal would bridge the gap between academics and practice in electoral landscape. He further added that this scholarly journal is aimed at specialists, researchers and experts. He also appreciated the tremendous support received from Mr, Jonghun Choe, Secretary General, A-WEB and his colleagues in this endeavour. 
    Election Commissioner Shri Rajiv Kumar gave the overview of the magnitude of the ongoing Assembly elections in four States of Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and the Union Territory of Puducherry which involved over 187.2 million voters spread over 824 Assembly constituencies. He added that the Commission has enhanced use of Information and Communication Technology to strengthen citizen participation and transparency.
    Secretary General  ECI, Shri Umesh Sinha  while giving an overview of the International Virtual Election Visitor Programme 2021 stressed that Election Commission of India has been very proactive in enhancing co-operation with Election Management Bodies across the world. He mentioned that over 106 delegates from over 26 countries are participating in the IVEP 2021. 
    A short film on the glimpse of ongoing elections in the states of Assam, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Kerala and UT Puducherry and also on the A-WEB India Journal was showcased to the delegates. 
    The Journal, published by the India A-WEB Centre (http://indiaawebcentre.org/) which was set up at ECI in 2019, highlights research papers, articles, book reviews, etc. from eminent writers, experts, researchers  and practitioners from the A-WEB Community and from across democracies of the world in the area of Elections and Electoral Democracy.  A-WEB India Journal of Elections is envisaged to be a Journal of the highest international standards and will include peer reviewed contributions from members of theA-WEB community and beyond.
    Over 106 delegates from over 26 countries across the world including Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Cambodia, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Republic of Korea, Madagascar,   Malawi, Malaysia, Maldives,Mauritius, Mongolia, Nepal,Panama, Philippines, Romania, Russia, South Africa, Suriname, Ukraine,  Uzbekistan and Zambiaetc. and 3 international organizations (viz. International IDEA,  International Foundation of Electoral Systems (IFES) and Association of World Election Bodies (A-WEB) are participating in the IEVP 2021.  The Ambassadors of Georgia and Uzbekistan, Acting High Commissioner of Sri Lanka and other members of Diplomatic Corps are also attending the IEVP 2021.
    IEVP 2021 would provide the participants an overview of the large canvas of Indian electoral process, the new initiatives taken by ECI on voter facilitation, transparency and accessibility of electoral system, ECI’s response to the changing needs of training and capacity building and the new formats necessitated by COVID-19 and provide insights into the elections underway in the states of Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and the Union Territory of Puducherry.  On the 6th of April 2021 the delegates will be given a virtual tour of live snapshot of how elections are conducted at some polling stations including familiarization with the electoral process, polling station arrangements, facilitation of Persons with Disabilities and senior citizens and  interaction with various stakeholders.

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  10. ECI organises a virtual conference of Chief Electoral Officers

    No. ECI/PN/69/2021
    Dated: 15th June, 2021
    ECI organises a virtual conference of Chief Electoral Officers
    CEC emphasises voter centric services to be delivered swiftly & efficiently
    General Elections 2019- An ATLAS released during the Conference
    Election Commission of India today organized a virtual conference of the Chief Electoral Officers of all the States and UTs. The conference primarily focused on key thematic issues like smooth, efficient and voter friendly services, updation/purity of the electoral roll, integration of IT Applications, extensive voter outreach program, Media & Communication strategy, Expenditure monitoring, legal issues, EVM and VVPAT storage related infrastructure and training & capacity building.

    While addressing the CEOs, Chief Election Commissioner Sh. Sushil Chandra stressed the importance of such periodic review meetings for revamping back-end systems so that voter centric services can be delivered swiftly and efficiently on priority. Shri Chandra said that such CEO review meetings would be institutionalized and will be organized more frequently. Shri Chandra emphasized that CEOs should make sustained year round efforts to engage with new voters for registration and other services like correction, change of address etc for existing voters and awareness of hassle free facilitation platforms of Election Commission. He reiterated the importance of an updated and error free electoral roll. Shri Chandra asked the CEOs to share the best practices of the various innovative steps taken by the poll-gone states for learning and customization for future elections.

    Election Commissioner Sh. Rajiv Kumar in his address said that CEOs of the recently poll-gone states should suggest ways of scaling up/integrating their successful best practices such as mobile apps for absentee voters, criminal antecedents and randomization of polling /police personnel. He emphasized that protocols of SOPs for storage and movement of EVMs should be strictly adhered to and monitored by CEOs. He added that CEOs should ensure periodic physical inspection of EVM storage warehouses. Shri Kumar also said that CEOs should send their suggestions and ideas for new reforms to be taken up in the identified verticals being examined by the Core Committee.
    Election Commissioner Sh. Anup Chandra Pandey commended the CEOs for their constructive suggestions. He said that the non-election period should be utilized by CEOs to consolidate and fill up gaps of manpower resources and Infrastructure, plan for communication & awareness activities and step up training & capacity building as per their state specific needs.
    Secretary General Sh. Umesh Sinha reminded the CEOs that during the non-election period, the core work of purifying electoral rolls, redressal of grievances of voters, outreach activities for engaging with young & future voters through Electoral Literacy Clubs and other SVEEP measures, staffing & budgeting matters, training of CEO office teams should be taken up on priority so that CEO offices remain in full readiness for forthcoming elections.
    Senior DEC Shri Dharmendra Sharma, DECs Shri Sudeep Jain, Shri Chandra Bhushan Kumar and Shri Nitesh Vyas also interacted with CEOs on their specific thematic issues.
    During the conference, Chief Electoral Officers of Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal shared their experiences and lessons from conducting elections during the pandemic. The CEOs of Goa, Manipur, Punjab, Uttarakhand& Uttar Pradesh particularly briefed the Commission about various challenges, innovations and suggestions for upcoming assembly elections in their respective states.

    The Commission today during the review meeting also e-launched the ‘Atlas on General Elections 2019’. The Atlas encompasses all the data and statistical figures of this monumental event. This Atlas includes 42 thematic maps and 90 tables depicting various facets of the elections.The General Election 2019 Atlas serves as an informative and illustrative document that brings to light the nuances of the Indian electoral process. The maps and tables depict information in pictorial manner for better understanding and appreciation of the electoral diversity of the country. The Atlas brings out salient features such as data of the 23 states and UTs where women voting percentage was more than the male voting percentage; information about the largest parliamentary constituency in terms of electors, candidates and performance of political parties amongst other parameters. The e-Atlas is available at https://eci.gov.in/ebooks/eci-atlas/index.html. Any suggestions can be shared with the EDMD division of the Commission.


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  11. 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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  12. ECI organizes National Conference on Accessible Elections

    No.ECI/PN/82/2021                                              
    Dated:  September 21, 2021
     
    PRESS NOTE
    ECI organizes National Conference on Accessible Elections; 
    Way forward to further streamline policy framework discussed
     
    The Election Commission of India today organised a virtual National Conference on Accessible Elections 2021 with the objective to assess the present accessibility policies and discuss strategies for addressing barriers to enhance participation in electoral process for voters with disabilities. The virtual conference was attended by members of National Advisory Committee on Accessible Elections, Chief Electoral Officers, Civil Society Organisations representing various disabilities and representatives from Government Ministries and Institutions. 
    Reaffirming Election Commission’s commitment to make elections more inclusive, accessible, and voter friendly for PwDs, Chief Election Commissioner, Shri Sushil Chandra said that the Commission values the decision making role of primary stakeholders - the voters including persons with disabilities, who can and should play a key role in electoral process. CEC added that all the meaningful inputs and recommendations suggested by Persons with Disabilities and their representative organisations are taken into consideration while framing guidelines for enhancing inclusivity and accessibility at every step of the electoral process. Shri Chandra reiterated ECI’s commitment in various international resolutions and mandates emphasising the inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in the electoral process. He emphasized the need for pleasant and dignified polling experience to PwDs. He mentioned that all polling stations are on ground floor equipped with ramp and wheelchairs, and sufficient volunteers are kept at polling stations for smooth and hassle free election experience. 
    Election Commissioner Shri Rajiv Kumar said that the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act 2016 provides for a legal mandate to ensure all polling stations to be made accessible for persons with disabilities and all material related to electoral process are easily understandable and usable by them. He added that the collective efforts of election officials and CSO stakeholders have contributed significantly in reaching out to a large number of electors with disabilities across the country, apart from building the electoral process accessible, safe and respectful for different population groups. 
    Election Commissioner Shri Anup Chandra Pandey emphasised on the need for community support systems to be strengthened by ways of advanced data processing, identifying community referral points and creating harmonised echo systems for specific citizens groups such as persons with disabilities and senior citizens. Shri Pandey added that Accessible Elections have always been a thrust area of the Commission, whereby ECI specifically focuses on the inclusion of all target groups, ensuring that everyone has equal access throughout the entire electoral process. 
    Secretary General, Shri Umesh Sinha said that ECI has timely organised this conference when the Commission is preparing for the forthcoming State Assembly Elections. Inputs received from various CEOs, CSOs and ECI Icons will be incorporated in the planning and preparation for elections to be more accessible, inclusive and voter friendly for PwDs and Senior Citizens.
     
    It was informed that as on today about 77.4 lakhs PwDs are registered voters. Recognising that a strong and vibrant democracy is founded on the bedrock of inclusion and participation, today’s deliberations focused on themes of Identification/ mapping of PwDs, Accessible Registration, Facilitation at Polling Stations, Efficient use of Technology for Accessible elections, Accessible Voter Education and Leveraging Partnerships & Collaborations and Media Outreach. Significant speakers from different CSOs including Director AADI, Executive Director, National Association of Deaf, Director, SPARC-India, Executive Director, NCPEDP, Executive Director BPA, representatives from ISLRTC & PDUNIPPD, as also ECI National Icon, Dr. Niru Kumar shared valuable inputs for making the election accessible and inclusive.
    Based on suggestions received from different stakeholders, a resolution was adopted to pave the way forward to further streamline the policy framework on ‘Accessible Elections’, for future elections. Comprehensive monitoring mechanism and Accessibility Assessment of all polling stations; Integration of all mainstream policies & programs for PwDs; training & sensitization of election personnel; increased awareness to improve understanding of disability ; improvised methods of data collection; awareness on postal ballot facility for PwDs; robust IVRS Helpline and online grievance redressal mechanism and deployment of accessibility observers and micro observers to ensure accessibility at all levels of electoral process were some of the the ideas discussed during the virtual conference.
    During the conference, Chief Election Commissioner Shri Sushil Chandra along with the Election Commissioners Shri Rajiv Kumar & Shri Anup Chandra Pandey released the following; 
    Crossing the Barriers- Accessibility Initiatives 2021. The Booklet is a compilation of innovative practices & accessibility initiatives for facilitating and empowering PwD electors.  Braille Language versions of recently launched initiatives like Voter Guide, Letter to the new voter, and a Song Booklet of 50 motivational songs on voter awareness.  Sign Language versions of two awareness videos of Voter helpline app and EVM-VVPAT An evaluation study of Outcomes of SVEEP Activities and Facilities provided to PwDs in General Assembly Election 2018 & Lok Sabha Elections 2019 in Karnataka was also released by the Commission. 
    A presentation on accessibility initiatives taken so far by the Election Commission including the learnings & experiences from the recently poll gone states, was also shared with the participants. The Conference had dedicated sign language interpreters to make the conference accessible for PwD participants. 

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  13. ECI organizes two-day SVEEP Consultation Workshop

    No. ECI/PN/76/2021                            
    August 26, 2021
    PRESS NOTE
    ECI organizes two-day SVEEP Consultation Workshop 
    A new initiative of personalised ‘Letter to New Voters’ unveiled; compilation of lyrics of SVEEP songs also released
    SVEEP teams to ensure voter centric messaging; ease of enrolment and polling to be ensured: CEC Shri Sushil Chandra
    The Election Commission of India organized a two-day SVEEP (Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation) Consultation Workshop on August 25-26, 2021. The agenda of the workshop was to review State SVEEP Plans & conduct extensive deliberations on the important aspects of SVEEP for a comprehensive strategy for the forthcoming elections.

    Addressing the participants, Chief Election Commissioner, Shri Sushil Chandra, observed that each voter interacts with the election machinery at two critical stages namely during enrollment and poll day and the two experiences must be very pleasant ones. He stressed that the field teams should ensure that the enrolment process is seamless and polling experience remains hassle free for the voters. He added that it is imperative that we evaluate our strategy & current interventions at regular intervals; identify critical gaps and address the challenges to devise deliverable action points. He emphasised that implementation of the strategy at the ground level is important. Shri Chandra stressed on the need for a 360-degree SVEEP - Communication Strategy to ensure that voters have access to all election related information and our SVEEP strategy must be voter centric and booth centric. 
    Shri Sushil Chandra along with Election Commissioner Shri Rajiv Kumar unveiled a new initiative to reach out to new voters through a personalized letter from the Commission when sending out their Voter ID Cards. The package would include a Voter Guide for new voters along with a congratulatory letter and a pledge for ethical voting.

    Election Commissioner Shri Rajiv Kumar said that the need for communication is self-evident in today’s world. He highlighted the role of social media and the new mediums of communication in outreach efforts. Shri Kumar elaborated on the importance of content strategy and distribution channels as part of the holistic communication plan. He said partnering with district level local icons would help strengthen our messaging with our voters.
    Election Commissioner Shri Anup Chandra Pandey, while interacting with the teams on the previous day highlighted the importance of synergy between the use of social media & traditional forms of communication in the SVEEP strategy. Shri Pandey said that the state teams should further conduct similar workshops and deliberations with District Electoral Officers and their teams in respective states. 

    Secretary General, Shri Umesh Sinha during his welcome address said that the consultation workshop would help revisit the fundamentals of SVEEP Programme & take a fresh look at different interventions and approach. He added that SVEEP is a 360-degree communication plan with the objective to reach each and every voter. 
    The Commission also launched the latest issue of the ‘My Vote Matters- a Quarterly magazine of the Commission; a document on Online Activities for Electoral Literacy Clubs and a song booklet with a compilation of lyrics of motivational SVEEP songs .
    The two-day consultation workshop was attended by Chief Electoral Officers and SVEEP Nodal Officers from Goa, Punjab, Manipur, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. To further enrich the idea & knowledge exchange, Senior officers from the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting were also invited for this consultation workshop. The workshop was also attended by Senior DECs, DECs, DGs, CEO Delhi and senior officials from the Election Commission.
    As part of the consultation workshop, brainstorming sessions were held on broad themes including Critical Gaps Analysis & Targeted Interventions (Gender, Youth & Service Electors); Persons with Disabilities & Senior Citizens; Mainstreaming of Electoral Literacy & Revitalizing ELCs, Chunav Pathshala & Voter Awareness Forums; Utilizing Media & Social Media to amplify SVEEP Outreach; Leveraging Collaborations & Partnerships and Preparation of Booth, AC, District wise SVEEP Plan with special focus on Low Voter Turnout areas. 
    Based on the inputs of the thematic discussions, CEOs presented their State specific SVEEP Plans for the forthcoming elections. 

    Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation program is the flagship program of the Election Commission of India for voter education & awareness, spreading voter awareness and promoting voter literacy in India.  SVEEP’s primary goal is to build an inclusive & participative democracy by encouraging all eligible citizens to vote and make an informed decision & ethical choice.                               

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  14. ECI push for wide ranging Reforms

    No. ECI/PN/66/2021 
    Dated: 13th May 2021
     
    PRESS NOTE 
    ECI push for wide ranging Reforms
     Election Commission of India in furtherance for continuing reforms process has decided to set up a Core Committee headed by Secretary General, ECI to identify learning, experiences, shortcomings from recently Poll-gone States of Assam, Bihar, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and UT of Puducherry.
     The committee is broadly tasked to identify: 
    1.   Shortcomings /gaps in ECI regulatory regime, if any and the gaps in implementation and enforcement at the level of CEOs/ District officials.
    2.   Need for Strengthening legal/ regulatory framework enabling  ECI to more effectively ensure compliance of guidelines / directions including the Covid norms;
    3.   Measures to ensure discharge of responsibility, like enforcement of covid protocol by the agencies/ authorities mandated under respective regulatory/ legal regime to do so irrespective of and in addition to ECI guidelines;
    4.   Gaps, if any in the guidelines or at implementation level in MCC / regulatory regime leading to avoidance/ non-compliance by the Candidates/ Political parties’ stakeholders; 
    5.   Measures to further strengthen the expenditure management regulation for inducement free election;  
    6.   Shortcomings in existing framework in providing protection to electoral machinery from possibility of reprisal after elections;  
    7.   Measures required for strengthening the offices of electoral machinery at the State level namely the offices of CEOs, DEOs and ROs; 
    8.   Issues related to Electoral Roll, Voter List and delivery of EPICs; 
    9.   Gaps in Communication strategy, if any.
     The Committee has also been asked to collate, analyse experiences, best practices across States/UT and suggest way forward and further reforms required.
     DECs of the ECI and CEOs of recent poll gone States and few select Special Observers and Observers will be members of the Committee.  While finalising its recommendations, the Committee will also take inputs from State Nodal Officers of different divisions like Police, Expenditure, Health authorities as well as from some DEOs, SPs & ROs identified by CEOs, Polling officials, BLOs about the issues and challenges faced at the grass root levels.
     The Committee will also examine the recommendations of the nine Working Groups (which were set up post Lok Sabha Elections, 2019) in light of experiences in the Poll gone States. The Commission had formed Nine working groups of CEOs and Commission Officers covering various  facets of election process including Electoral Roll issues, Polling Stations management, MCC, Voting processes & Materials inventory, Capacity Building, IT applications, Expenditure Management, SVEEP and Media interface as also Electoral Reforms.
     Recommendations of the Core Committee will help the Commission to chalk out way forward for forthcoming polls in future.  The Core Committee has been asked to submit its report within a month.

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  15. ECI releases an Atlas on General Elections 2019

    No. ECI/PN/70/2021
    Dated: 18th June, 2021
     
    ECI releases an Atlas on General Elections 2019  
    Chief Election Commissioner, Shri Sushil Chandra along with Election Commissioner Shri Rajiv Kumar and Election Commissioner Shri Anup Chandra Pandey released 'General Elections 2019 - An Atlas' on June 15, 2021.  Shri Chandra commended the officers of the Commission for compiling this innovative document and hoped that this would inspire academicians and researchers to further explore the vast landscape of the Indian elections.

    The Atlas encompasses all the data and statistical figures of this monumental event. It has 42 thematic maps and 90 tables depicting various facets of the elections. The Atlas also shares interesting facts, anecdotes and legal provisions related to the Indian elections.
    Since the first General Elections in 1951-52, the Commission has been publishing compilation of electoral data in the form of narrative and statistical books.  17th General Elections conducted in 2019 were the largest democratic exercise in human history which witnessed the participation of 61.468 crore voters at 10.378 lakh polling stations spread over 32 lakh square kilometre territory of India. 
    In Indian elections, electoral data is primarily collected during the preparation of Electoral Roll by the Electoral Registration Officers and also in the process of conduct of elections by the Returning Officers. This data is then collated by these statutory authorities. Thereafter, after the culmination of the electoral process, the Election Commission of India collects this electoral data and prepares various reports for compilation, record and dissemination purposes. 
    In October 2019, the Commission released statistical reports based on the electoral data made available by the Returning Officers of 543 Parliamentary Constituencies. The maps and tables as placed in this Atlas depict that information and provide for better understanding and appreciation of electoral diversity of the country. In addition to contextualizing the data, these detailed maps reveal electoral patterns at various levels as well as indicate its spatial and temporal settings. With an aim to better visualize and represent the electoral data, this Atlas serves as an informative and illustrative document that brings to light the nuances of the Indian electoral process and empowers readers to analyse trends and changes. 

    The Atlas brings out salient features such as data of the 23 States and UTs where women voting percentage was more than the male voting percentage; information about the largest & smallest parliamentary constituency in terms of electors, candidates and performance of political parties amongst other parameters.
    The Atlas depicts the electors data in different categories and through various comparison charts like Elector Gender Ratio and electors in different age categories. The 2019 General Elections witnessed the lowest gender gap in the history of Indian elections. The Elector Gender Ratio which has shown a positive trend since 1971 was 926 in 2019 General Elections.
    The Atlas also compares the average number of electors per polling station in different states during 2014 & 2019 General Elections. The Election Commission of India set up over 10 lakh polling stations in General Elections 2019 with the lowest number of electors per polling station (365) in Arunachal Pradesh.   
    Amongst the various other categories, the atlas compares the number of contesting candidates in the General elections since 1951. In the 2019 General Elections, there were 8054 qualified contesting candidates after rejection of nominations & withdrawals from a total of 11692 nominations filed across the country.
    To check out the details, the e-Atlas is available at https://eci.gov.in/ebooks/eci-atlas/index.html. Suggestions, if any, can be shared with the EDMD division of the Commission.

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  16. 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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  17. ECI to take stern action against fake news An FIR has been lodged against the fake news about EVM Hacking attributed to Former CEC Sh. T.S. Krishnamurthy circulated over internet

    No. ECI/PN/26/2021                                                             
     Dated: 11th March 2021
    PRESS NOTE
    ECI to take stern action against fake news
    An FIR has been lodged against the fake news about EVM Hacking attributed to Former CEC Sh. T.S. Krishnamurthy circulated over internet
    It has come to the notice of Election Commission of India that an old fake news about EVM hacking is being circulated on some social media platforms/internet. The news item dated 21st December, 2017 maliciously attributed that former Chief Election Commissioner of India Sh. T.S. Krishnamurthy had opined that a particular party won assembly elections by hacking EVMs. This wrongful information was previously debunked by former CEC himself, soon after this matter had come to his knowledge in 2018. This news is again being circulated by some miscreants on social media. 
    Refuting this fake news Sh. Krishnamurthy has again issued a statement saying 
    "It has been brought to my notice that a fake news which had appeared in a Hindi newspaper quite some time back is being activated and re-circulated as if that I express doubts about the credibility of the Electronic Voting Machine, EVM, in the conduct of elections in India. This is utterly false and mischievous to circulate a wrong impression in the ensuing elections. I would like to reiterate that the EVMs are most credible and I have no doubt about its efficacy and reliability. Electronic Voting Machine is indeed our Nation’s pride and that there cannot be any doubt whatsoever about its credibility".
    On direction of the Commission an FIR has also been lodged by CEO Delhi, under the IPC Section 500 (punishment for defamation) and Representation of the People Act 1951 Section 128 (maintenance of secrecy of voting), 134(breach of official duty in connection with elections). Investigation has been initiated in this matter and stern action will be taken against the miscreants who have uploaded fake news to create wrong impressions about the election process. 
     

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  18. ECI's Statement

    Dated: 25th April 2021 
     
    ECI’s Statement
    "A section of the media have reported about allegations made by Hon'ble Chairperson AITC and CM West Bengal that instructions have been given by some officers of ECI and Observers to arrest “TMC goons”.  Such statements supposedly attributed to ECI Officers and Observers are  absolutely baseless, false and misleading. No such instructions have been given by any Observer, Chief Electoral Officer or Officer of the Commission to act against workers of any Party (ies). 
    It has  also been reported that CM would be taking the matter to the honourable Court (s).
    No court case has so far been reported to CEO, WB's office or the Commission where any instance of preventive action against a non-criminal has come to the notice. Misleading narratives apart, leave alone any court case, no specific instance of illegal preventive action against any worker of party has been reported till 25.4.21. 
    Conduct of free, fair, intimidation free and violence free election requires close monitoring of all miscreants and history sheeters who have the potential to vitiate the polls. 
    Preventive actions under relevant provisions of CrPC, IPC are taken by all law enforcing agencies to ensure they are prevented from creating any mischief. 
     There are standing instructions for law enforcing agencies of all poll going States to ensure compilation of list of miscreants based on criminal history, including involvement in election related crime in the past.  Action is taken and must be taken against such miscreants who have potential of scaring genuine voters in any manner. 
     DEOs, Commissioners of Police, SPs , Observers , Chief Electoral officer of the State (s) going to poll and Commission review and ensure that such lists are compiled timely and acted upon in an impartial manner. Commission or Observers for that matter convey instructions in such matters through Chief Electoral officer."

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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’s Statement on Nandigram Incident on 1.4.2021

    No. ECI/PN/40/2021
    Dated: 1stApril, 2021
    PRESS NOTE
    ECI’s Statement on Nandigram Incident on 1.4.2021
    Many sections of media have been covering the incident of alleged gherao of Hon’ble Chief Minister of West Bengal and crowding at Polling Station No. 7 at 210 Nandigram AC today that interalia resulted in disruption of poll process. General Observer Shri Hemen Das (IAS 2009 batch) and Police Observer Shri Ashutosh Roy (IPS 1994 batch) were asked to go to the spot immediately. 
    The report received from the General Observer at 4.06 pm is as follows:
    “Good afternoon sir, 
    Polling at PS no 7 ( Boyal Moktab Primary School) is going on smoothly. Hon’ble CM, who is also a contesting candidate,  has left the place at about 3.35 pm after staying here for nearly one and half hour. 
    It may kindly be noted that polling was not disrupted at any moment. 
    Till now, 702 votes, out of 943, have been polled. It’s 74%. 
    Nearly 3000 people were there when we reached the station. All have left now. 
    Now, me and Police Observer are here besides the authorised police personnel including CAPF. 
    Regards"
    A separate hand written complaint was received from Hon’ble Chief Minister via CEO West Bengal today in the late afternoon. The same has been forwarded to Special General Observer Shri Ajay Nayak and Special Police Observer Shri Vivek Dube under intimation to CEO. They have been asked to send a report by tomorrow 6pm.

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  21. 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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  22. Election Commission unanimous that there should not be restriction on media reporting.

    No. ECI/PN/63/2021                                                    
    Dated: 5th May 2021
     
    PRESS NOTE
     
    Election Commission unanimous that there should not be restriction on media reporting.
    The Election Commission of India has taken note of recent narrative relating to its position in relation to media. The Commission has also come across certain press reports in the same regard. The Commission always has appropriate deliberations before any decisions are taken.  
    In the context of involvement of media, the Commission wishes to clarify that it stands sincerely committed to its faith in free media.   The Commission as a whole and each one of its members recognise the positive role played by media in the conduct of all elections in the past and present and in strengthening electoral democracy in the country. The Election Commission was unanimous that before Hon’ble Supreme Court there should not be any prayer for restriction on media reporting.  
    The Commission very specially recognises media’s role in enhancing effectiveness of election management and in reinforcing transparency from the very beginning of election process till the end, including transparent coverage during all processes, campaigning and from polling station level to counting. ECI’s approach on the collaboration with media is that of a natural ally and remains unchanged.
     

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  23. Extension of hours of Poll in bye-election to 26-Serchhip (ST) Assembly Constituency of Mizoram till 7.00 pm.

    No. ECI/PN/50/2021
    Dated: April 15, 2021
    PRESS NOTE
    Subject: Extension of hours of Poll in bye-election to 26-Serchhip (ST) Assembly Constituency of Mizoram till 7.00 pm.
    Under the programme for holding bye-election to 26-Serchhip (ST) Assembly Constituency announced by the Commission on 16th March 2021 and subsequent notification on the 23rd March 2021, the hours of poll were 7.00 AM to 6.00 PM of the 17th April, 2021.
    The Commission has now taken into account the request of extension of polling time to enable all the voters to exercise their franchise made by political parties and also recommended by the Chief Electoral Officer Mizoram. Accordingly, the Commission has today notified that the hours of poll for the bye-election to 26-Serchhip (ST) Assembly Constituency to be held on 17th April 2021 will be 7.00 AM to 7.00 PM i.e. extending it by one hour more.
    All the political parties and candidates are being informed and due notice will be put at polling stations about the extension of the timing. The Chief Electoral Officer, Mizoram has been directed to arrange wide publicity of this extension of timing so that voters can avail the benefit.
    Commission expects that its decision will help voters to turnout in large numbers and exercise their franchise.
     

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  24. FACTUAL REPORT ON INCIDENT INVOLVING EVM AT KARIMGANJ ACTION TAKEN AGAINST PRESIDING OFFICER & REPOLL ORDERED AT P.S. NO. 149 OF RATABARI, ASSAM AS ADDED PRECAUTION

    No. ECI/PN/41/2021
    Dated: 2nd April, 2021
    PRESS NOTE
    FACTUAL REPORT ON INCIDENT INVOLVING EVM AT KARIMGANJ
    ACTION TAKEN AGAINST PRESIDING OFFICER & REPOLL ORDERED AT P.S. NO. 149 OF RATABARI, ASSAM AS ADDED PRECAUTION 
    1. The polling party of No. 149- Indira M.V. School   of LAC 1 Ratabari(SC) met with an unfortunate incident on 01 April 2021. The polling party comprised of a Presiding Officer and three polling personnel. They were accompanied by the police personnel comprising of a constable and a homeguard.   
    2. The Polling party after completion of polls at 1800 Hrs. was returning in a convoy escorted by an armed escort led by the Police Sector Officer ABSI Luhit Gohain. The weather on the 01st of April was inclement and was raining heavily in the later hours of the day leading to the roads being muddy.
    3. NH8 is the only artery road leading into Karimganj from remote areas of the district. Since it was poll day and poll closes at 1800 hrs, about 1300 vehicles were returning on the single highway, as all polling parties return to Karimganj from 1800 Hrs. onwards. Combined with the inclement weather, this had led to an unprecedented traffic congestion on the highway. 
    4. As the above mentioned polling party was approaching Nilam Bazaar,  the vehicle which had been allotted by the transport cell of  election branch, DC office, to the party carrying the polling party broke down at about 2100 hrs on 01 April 2021. Due to the traffic congestion and the prevailing weather condition, the party became detached from its convoy. The party alighted from the vehicle and called the Sector Officer Sri Ajoy Sutradhar on his mobile and informed him. While the sector officer was arranging for an alternate vehicle, polling party decided to arrange a vehicle of its own so as to reach the Material Receipt Centre faster since they were in custody of polled EVMs. 
    5. At about 2120 hrs, the polling party hailed a passing vehicle and boarded it along with their EVM and other things without checking the ownership of the vehicle bearing the number AS-10B-0022. As reported by the polling party, they moved towards Karimganj  and as they reached Kanaishil in Karimganj at about 2200 hrs, they had to slow down in the traffic. As they slowed down, they were surrounded by a mob of about 50 people which started pelting stones at them. The mob also started abusing them and did not allow the vehicle to pass. When they asked the leader of the mob, he replied that it was the vehicle of Sri Krishnendu Paul who is a contesting candidate of a neighbouring constituency (Patharkandi LAC-2) and he levelled allegations that the EVM was being taken to be tampered with. 
    It was only then that they realised that something was amiss and alerted the Sector Officer. However, a larger crowd had gathered by then and they were attacked and held hostage by a mob along with the EVM in the vehicle at 2145 hrs alleging that the EVM was being taken to be tampered with. 
    6. Immediately after receiving information about the incident, DEO Karimganj along with SP Karimganj rushed to the spot and reached there at 2220 hrs. Also in the mean while, the antecedents of the vehicle were ascertained and it was found to be was registered in the name of Smti. Madhumita Paul, Wife of contesting candidate, Patharkandi LAC No 2, Shri Krishnendu Paul.  On arrival at the spot, it was observed that the crowd was pulling out the polling party and were about to assault them. The mob had turned violent and had damaged the glass of the vehicle by stone pelting. During the course of the stone pelting, SP Karimganj sustained minor injuries on his collarbone and blank firing had to be resorted to disperse the mob. The first polling officer was found missing in the commotion, the EVM’s and the remaining polling party along were safely escorted from the area and taken into the control of the DEO at 2320 hrs.
    On examination, the polled EVM comprising of BU, CU and VVPAT was found to be with its seal intact without any damage whatsoever. All the items have been deposited in the strong room. 
    7. The first polling officer was missing until the wee hours of the morning of 02 April 2021 as he was hiding in the undergrowth nearby and a search operation was being conducted all night. This delayed the transmission of this report by a few hours.
    8. In this regard, the Presiding Officer was issued show cause notice for violation of the transport protocol. Thereafter, the PO & 3 other officials have been placed under suspension. Although the seals of the EVM were found intact, it has nevertheless been decided to do a re-poll at  No. 149- Indira M.V. School   of LAC 1 Ratabari (SC) as added precaution. A report has also been sought from the Special Observer. 

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  25. 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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ECI Main Website

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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