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  1. 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

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  2. Hon’ble High Court, Madras upholds ECI's facility of Postal Ballot for absentee voters

    No. ECI/PN/32/2021                                                          
    Dated: 18th March 2021
    PRESS NOTE
    Hon’ble High Court, Madras upholds ECI's facility of Postal Ballot for absentee voters
    Hon’ble High Court, Madras on 17.03.2021 dismissed a petition (W.P. No. 20027 of 2020) challenging the vires of Section 60 (c) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 and the corresponding rules to facilitate postal ballots for absentee voters including senior citizens of above 80 years, persons with disabilities, COVID-19 affected/ suspected and persons employed in essential services.
    The bench headed by Hon'ble Chief Justice in their order held that:
    “56. It must be acknowledged that all that the Election Commission has done here is to be inclusive and allow certain classes of persons who would have been excluded from exercising their franchise the right to use the postal ballot  and participate in the celebration of the festival of democracy. Wiser minds have seen the secrecy of the ballot and the conduct of fair elections to be complementary in the judgment in S.Raghbir Singh Gill. One may add, with humility, that if the process is made inclusive without compromising on either the secrecy of the ballot or the fairness in the conduct of elections, it would be a greater cause to celebrate and compliment the conducting body.”
    The Court did not find any arbitrariness in the classification of the persons committed by the rules of 1961 to cast their vote by postal ballot. It held:
    “60. Equally, there does not seem to be any arbitrariness in the classification of the persons permitted by the Rules of 1961 to cast their vote by postal ballot .The consideration appears to have been as to who may not be able to physically attend a polling booth to cast her vote. If such is the consideration, there is no arbitrariness in the classes of persons enumerated by the amendments of 2019 and 2020, particularly, as the object appears to be to afford such classes of persons their basic right to participate in the democratic process.”
    Hon'ble Court who observed that it is well within the plenary powers of the Commission to issue guidelines to facilitate the elections:
    “62. Finally, the petitioner's contention that the Election Commission has no jurisdiction to issue guidelines has to be discarded in the light of the plenary authority that may be seen to have been conferred on such Commission by Article 324 of the Constitution. Further, in A.C.Jose, the Supreme Court recognized the authority of the Election Commission to pass any orders in respect of the conduct of elections when there is no parliamentary legislation or rule made under the said legislation. Such authority was also seen when there was no express provision made in the rules for the Commission “to supplement ... the law ... in the matter of superintendence, direction and control as provided by Article 324 ...” In addition, the judgment recognised the plenary powers of the Commission “to give any direction in respect of the conduct of election ...”
    Commission started the optional postal ballot to some of these categories since Jharkhand elections of 2019. In 2020 Bihar General Elections, postal ballot options were extended to all these categories which was exercised by more than 52,000 such electors. In the on-going elections and bye-elections, Commission has already laid down detailed guidelines to facilitate postal ballot options for such categories of electors to make elections more inclusive, in the line of its motto “No voter to be left behind”.
      Spirit behind providing this facilitation has been that those voters who are above 80+ or PWD voters and have the problem of mobility and are not able to come to polling station because of debility, get the facility of voting through option of postal ballot from home. This facility has benefitted large number of such category of voters. It is also pertinent to mention that the Commission has made the polling stations totally accessible for PWD voters or senior citizens. Even the free transport facility is now provided to PWD voters or senior citizens.
     

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  3. Biennial Election to the Council of States from Kerala to fill the seats of members retiring on 21.04.2021-reg.

    No. ECI/PN/29/2021  
    Dated 17th March, 2021
     
    PRESS NOTE
     
    Sub: Biennial Election to the Council of States from Kerala to fill the seats of members retiring on 21.04.2021-reg.
    The term of office of 03 members of the Rajya Sabha elected from Kerala is due to expire on their retirement in April, 2021 as detailed below:-       
    S. No
    Name of Member
    Date of Retirement
     
    1.       
    Abdul Wahab
     
    21.04.2021
     
     
    2.       
    K. K. Ragesh
    3.       
    Vayalar Ravi
     2. The Commission has decided to hold biennial election to the Council of States from Kerala to fill up the above said vacancies in accordance with the following Schedule: -
    Sl. No.
    Events
    Dates & Days

    1 Issue of Notifications
    24th March, 2021 (Wednesday)

    2 Last date of making nominations
    31st March, 2021 (Wednesday)

    3 Scrutiny of nominations
    03rd April, 2021 (Saturday)

    4 Last date for withdrawal of candidatures
    05th April, 2021 (Monday)

    5 Date of Poll
    12th April, 2021 (Monday)

    6 Hours of Poll
    09:00 am-04:00 pm

    7 Counting of Votes
    12th April, 2021 (Monday) at 05:00 pm

    8 Date before which election shall be completed
    16th April, 2021 (Friday)
     
    3. Broad Guidelines to be followed during entire election process for all persons: -
    Every person shall wear face mask during every election related activity At the entry of hall/ room/ premises used for election purposes: Thermal Scanning of all persons shall be carried out: Sanitizer shall be made available at all locations Social distancing shall be maintained as per the extant COVID-19 guidelines of the State Govt. and Ministry of Home Affairs. 4. The Chief Secretary, Kerala is being directed to depute a senior officer from the State to ensure that the extant instructions regarding COVID-19 containment measures are complied with while making arrangements for conducting the said biennial election.
    5. Further, the Commission has also appointed the Chief Electoral Officer, Kerala as Observer for the election.

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  4. Polling for Phase 2 Assam and West Bengal Assembly Constituencies conducted peacefully.

    No. ECI/PN/39/2021                                                   
    Dated: 1stApril, 2021
    PRESS NOTE
     
    Polling for Phase 2 Assam and West Bengal Assembly Constituencies conducted peacefully. 
    Elaborate arrangements made for COVID safe, intimidation free and inducement free elections 
    The second phase of Assam and West Bengal Assembly Elections was conducted peacefully across 21,212 Polling Stations spread over 69 Assembly Constituencies today. The Commission has laid great emphasis on ensuring transparent and vigilant mechanism for COVID safe, intimidation free and inducement free elections amidst tight security arrangements. 
    The second phase of elections were conducted for 39 Assembly Constituencies in Assam. More than 73 lakh electorates across 10,592 Polling Stations are registered to exercise their franchise in this phase. Voting was held in 30 Assembly Constituencies of West Bengal with nearly 76 lakh electorates registered across 10,620 Polling Stations in Phase II. 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. 
    Polling across ACs was conducted under strict security arrangements. Election Commission has laid out an elaborate security plan to ensure smooth and safe conduct of elections. Eighteen Police Observers have been deployed by ECI to ensure safe environment during the elections. Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) along with the local police force have been deployed to ensure peaceful, intimidation free and conducive atmosphere for the smooth conduct of elections in a free, fair, inclusive and accessible manner. Route marches in vulnerable pockets, regular point patrolling and other Confidence Building Measures were carried out to reassure voters, especially those belonging to the weaker sections of society. Force deployment in the Assembly segments has been done under the supervision of the Central Observers deputed by the Commission.
    It is the standing instruction of the Commission that outsiders will not be allowed in the areas of poll going assembly constituencies during the silence period i.e. 48 hours before the end of polling hours. DEOs and SPs were given instructions during briefings that this instruction should be strictly adhered to. The Commission has also issued instruction that police officials including CAPF personnel will not go inside the polling booth unless required by Presiding Officer due to law and order problem. The Commission had reiterated this instruction in briefing of DEOs and police officials. These guidelines were strictly and rigorously followed. In any case anecdote reportage of any kind is not a substitute for hard empirical evidence. ECI is always committed to enquire into specific instances and taking swift action. 
    As a major push for conducting free and fair elections, live monitoring and webcasting of more than 50% of Polling Stations including critical and vulnerable polling booths has been put in place as per ECI norms, 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 5535 Polling Stations in West Bengal and 5193 Polling Stations in Assam. 
    To ensure inclusive and accessible elections, ECI has extended the option of postal ballot facility to PwDs, Senior Citizens above the age of 80 years, COVID-19 suspect or affected persons and persons employed in essential services. The Observers at the ground level oversaw that proper arrangements for facilitation were made available for these voters. 
    Keeping pandemic concerns in view, all the Polling Stations followed COVID-19 Safety protocols. For the safety of the voters and the election officials 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. BLOs and volunteers monitored and regulated strict compliance of social distancing norms at the Polling Stations. At the last hour of poll, polling was conducted in full COVID-19 protective gear, with proper COVID-19 protocols and supervision of health authorities.
    Assured Minimum Facilities (AMF) like 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. Arrangements like transport facility, volunteers assisting Persons with Disability and senior citizens were present at the Polling Stations.
    During this phase, a total of 10620 Ballot Units (BUs), 10620 Control Units(CUs) and 10620 VVPATs were used in West Bengal and 10819 Ballot Units (BUs), 10592 Control Units (CUs) and 10592 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. 
    During the ongoing elections till second phase, a record seizure of Rs. 366.09 Crore has already been achieved for both the states. The seizure figure, which includes seizure of cash, liquor, narcotics, freebies etc, is more than six 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. 112.54 crore has been seized in Assam (as against a total seizure of Rs. 16.58 crore in LA 2016) and a total of 253.55 crores for West Bengal (as against a total seizure of Rs 44.33 crore in  LA 2016). For effective monitoring and hand holding a total of 53 & 85 Expenditure Observers have been deployed in Assam & West Bengal Assembly Elections, 2021 respectively. 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. A total number of 1306 cases of Model Code of Conduct violations were reported through the cVIGIL app from Assam out of which 927 were disposed as of 4.30 pm. Similarly 14499 cases were reported from West Bengal with 11630 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 39 ACs of phase 2 in Assam is 73.03 %. The poll Percentage reported from the 30 ACs of phase 2 in West Bengal is 80.43 % 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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  5. REPORT OF SPECIAL GENERAL OBSERVER, ASSAM RECEIVED; ARMED ESCORT OFFICER ALSO SUSPENDED.

    No. ECI/PN/42/2021                                                    
    Dated:2nd April  2021
     
    PRESS NOTE
    REPORT OF SPECIAL GENERAL OBSERVER, ASSAM RECEIVED;
    ARMED ESCORT OFFICER ALSO SUSPENDED.
    The report of Special General Observer, Assam has been received in the Commission wrt. the incident involving Polling Party of Polling Station 149- Indira M. V. School, Ratabari(SC) LAC utilizing a private vehicle for transportation of EVM.
    The Special Observer has carefully taken the inputs given bythe CEO, DC as well as the General Observer & the Police Observer of the said LAC and has recommended as follows:
    a) Action be taken against armed escort officer for leaving behind the stranded polling party and not ensuring their safe arrival at destination
    b) There does not seem to be any grounds for change of RO as this appears to be an isolated incident, due to the total negligence and foolishness of the Presiding Officer and his team. 
    c) There is otherwise no deliberate or malafide intention in the incident aimed to disrupt the polling process
    d) To ensure credibility and fairness, it is appropriate to order repoll in PS Number 149 Indira MV School of LAC 1 Ratabari.
    Consequent to Commission’s decisionPresiding Officer: Sahab Uddin Talukdar;First Polling Officer: SouravAcharjee; Second Polling Officer: Abdul MumitChoudhary;Third Polling officer: Sahab Uddin Tapadar; had already been placed under suspension since forenoon today.
    Thereafter, with the receipt of the said report from the Special General Observer, Armed Escort Officer Mr. LuhitGohain, Sub-Inspector of Police ( Armed Branch) of 3rd Assam Police Battalion, Titabor has also been suspended. The Commission has directed a repoll at Polling Station 149- Indira M. V. School of Ratabari(SC) LAC.

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  6. Shri Sushil Chandra takes over as the 24th CEC of India ECI bids farewell to Sh. Sunil Arora

    No. ECI/PN/48/2021
    Dated: April 13, 2021
    PRESS NOTE
     Shri Sushil Chandra takes over as the 24th CEC of India
    ECI bids farewell to Sh. Sunil Arora 
    Shri Sushil Chandra assumed charge as the 24th Chief Election Commissioner of India today, succeeding Shri Sunil Arora. Shri Arora demitted the office on 12th April, 2021 after completing his tenure.


    Shri Chandra has been serving in the Commission as Election Commissioner since 15 February 2019.He is also Member of Delimitation Commission since 18th February 2020 looking after Delimitation of Jammu Kashmir UT. Having held several posts in the Income-Tax Department for nearly 39 years, Sh Sushil Chandra had also been CBDT Chairman from 1stNovember 2016 – 14th February 2019.
    Since his tenure as Chairman, CBDT itself, Sh Chandra has played an active role in unearthing illegal money often used during Assembly Elections. With his continuous monitoring the seizures of cash, liquor, freebies, narcotics have increased substantially in recent elections. He has constantly emphasized the concept of "Inducement-Free" elections and it has become an important aspect of monitoring the electoral process in all ongoing and forthcoming elections. Process of focused and comprehensive monitoring through deployment of Special Expenditure Observers, activating the role of many more enforcement agencies in the process of Election Expenditure monitoring, more exhaustive and frequent reviews of observers and other agencies are few of the aspects of electoral management encouraged by him. His contributions are also reflective in systemic changes like the Form 26 that has now become an integral part of essential paperwork. Shri Chandra as Chairman CBDT took special efforts in the area of verification of affidavits filed by the candidates before elections. In 2018 in his role as Chairman CBDT, Shri Chandra was instrumental in evolving a uniform format of sharing details of all assets and liabilities not mentioned in the affidavits of the candidates. Facilitation through innovative IT applications in Election systems have been a unique contribution of Sh Sushil Chandra to the 2019 17thLok Sabha Elections and the Legislative Assembly Elections held since in Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha, Sikkim, Haryana, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Delhi.
    Holding of elections to State Assemblies of Bihar, Assam, Kerala, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal amidst Covid concerns and making processes such as nomination and filing of papers online, extending option of postal ballot to the specific categories of senior citizens, Persons with Disabilities, essential services personnel as also Covid patients/suspects, has seen Sh Chandra lead from the front with an iron will to work despite challenges.
    The ECI family bid a warm farewell to outgoing Chief Election Commissioner, Sh. Sunil Arora on 12th April, 2021. After a fulfilling tenure of nearly 43 months in Commission and nearly 29 months as CEC, Sh Arora demitted office having successfully steered the 17th Lok Sabha election in 2019 and  elections to 25 State Assemblies since joining ECI in September 2017.
    Bidding farewell to Sh Arora, Election Commissioner Sh Rajiv Kumar recalled various initiatives taken up by the Commission during the tenure of Sh. Arora like providing optional postal ballot facility to senior citizen and PwD electors, setting up of India A-WEB Centre, and Voluntary Code of Ethics. He said that Shri Arora has laid special emphasis on ensuring inclusive and accessible elections during the term. He also added that Shri Arora would continue to be a source of strength to the entire ECI family.
    Shri Sunil Arora in his remarks thanked all the members of the Commission and wished for the successful conduct of all future elections. Shri Arora recalled every election presents unique challenges but conducting elections to the 17th Lok Sabha and the decision to conduct Bihar assembly elections during a pandemic was the most difficult. He congratulated all the officials involved in the exercise for their meticulous planning and hard work to ensure the smooth and successful conduct of these elections.

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  7. 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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  8. 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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  9. 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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  10. Polling held in 14,480 Polling Stations spread across 43 ACs in Phase VI WB Elections. Voter Turnout (at 5 PM) for Phase VI West Bengal Election 79.09%

    No. ECI/PN/54/2021
    Dated: 22nd April 2021
    PRESS NOTE
    Polling held in 14,480 Polling Stations spread across 43 ACs in Phase VI WB Elections

    Voter Turnout (at 5 PM) for Phase VI West Bengal Election 79.09%

    Voters set an example of Covid appropriate behaviour at Polling Booths

    ECI invites attention of all Political Parties to abide by laid down Covid Protocol during 
    Campaigns 

    7466 out of 14,480 polling stations monitored live through webcasting; Drones used to 
    keep watch over vote proceedings

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  11. PRESS NOTE

    No. ECI/PN/52/2021
    Dated: April 16th, 2021
    PRESS NOTE
    For the ongoing West Bengal Assembly Election-2021, invoking its powers under Article 324, the Commission (1) curtails the timing of campaign upto 7 PM. There shall not be any campaign between 7PM and 10AM on campaign day.
    (2) extends the silence period from 48 hours to 72 hours in each of the remaining three phases.
    Commission also directs the political parties/candidates to provide masks, sanitizers, etc. to the participants and account for the cost in expenditure limits. In view of unprecedented public health situation and the imperative of ongoing elections, Commission today extended the silence period upto 72 hours (instead of 48 hours) and restricted the period of campaign upto 7PM (instead of 10PM). These orders have come into effect immediately.
    Commission further directed all the political parties to adhere to the COVID norms/instructions. It has directed:
    Candidates and Political Parties shall ensure absolute, repeat absolute, adherence to Covid guidelines in letter and sprit. Violations, if any, shall be sternly dealt with and action, including criminal action, taken as per extant legal framework. It shall be the responsibility of the organisers of public meetings, rallies, etc. to provide masks and sanitisers to every person attending these meetings, rallies, etc at their cost which shall be added and counted within limits of prescribed expenditure. Organisers shall also ensure proper usage of masks, sanitisers and also be responsible for maintaining minimum social distance by everyone. Star campaigners/political leaders/candidates/aspiring policy makers shall demonstrate by their personal example and nudge all supporters in the beginning of the rally, meeting and any other event during campaign to wear mask, use sanitisers and maintain social distance and put in place such crowd control measures as are necessary for observance of extant guidelines. District Election Officers and Returning Officers shall take strict measures to enforce Covid guidelines during campaign. They shall cancel public meetings, rallies, etc. if any violations are observed, in addition to invoking penal sections. Special Observers and General, Police and Expenditure Observers shall strictly monitor compliance of covid norms during campaign. The Commission has directed that Chief Secretary, West Bengal, CEO, West Bengal, all DEOs and ROs of the remaining three phases shall ensure strict compliance of this order and enforcement of extant guidelines. Special observers and other district/ constituency (ies) level observers shall regularly monitor compliance.
    The copies of the Order, dated 16.04.2021 issued under Art 324 of the Constitution of India as well as the letter, dated 16.04.2021 issued to the Political Parties, are enclosed, which are self explanatory

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  12. 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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  13. Peaceful polling held in 11,376 Polling Stations spread across 34 ACs in Phase VII WB Elections. Voter Turnout (at 5 PM) for Phase VII West Bengal Election 75.06%

    No. ECI/PN/56/2021
    Dated: 26th April 2021
    PRESS NOTE
    Peaceful polling held in 11,376 Polling Stations spread across 34 ACs in Phase VII WB Elections
    Voter Turnout (at 5 PM) for Phase VII West Bengal Election 75.06%
    Voters scrupulously follow Covid appropriate behaviour at Polling Booths
    ECI reiterates instructions to District authorities to take action under extant rules against Covid protocol violators
    5982 out of 11376 polling stations monitored live through webcasting;
    Timely seizure of bombs and arms ensures secure and peaceful elections

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  14. 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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  15. Huge push by ECI to curb menace of money power during ongoing elections in States of Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Union Territory of Puducherry

    No. ECI/PN/30/2021
    Dated: 17th March 2021
    PRESS NOTE
    Huge push by ECI to curb menace of money power during ongoing elections in States of Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Union Territory of Puducherry
    Record Seizures worth Rs. 331 crores have been made in Expenditure Monitoring Process in ongoing Assembly Elections, 2021 in States of Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Union Territory of Puducherry. Seizures already surpass the total seizures made in Assembly Elections to these State/UT in 2016 and significant point is that record seizures have been made even though polling is yet to start. Details of record seizures already done so far (as on 16th March 2021) - compared to total of Rs 225.77 cr in AE 2016 is put as under:  
     (Figures in Rs Crores)
    States
    Cash
    Liquor (worth Rs crores)
    Drugs (worth Rs crores)
    Freebies
    Precious Metals
    Total
    Assam
    11.73
    17.25
    27.09
    4.87
    2.82
    63.75
    Puducherry
    2.32
    0.26
    0.15
    0.14
    2.85
    5.72
    Tamil Nadu
    50.86
    1.32
    0.35
    14.06
    61.04
    127.64
    Kerala
    5.46
    0.38
    0.68
    0.04
    15.23
    21.77
    West Bengal
    19.11
    9.72
    47.40
    29.42
    6.93
    112.59
    Total 
    89.48
    28.93
    75.67
    48.52
    88.87
    331.47
     
    Total seizures in the above poll bound States/UT  in Assembly Elections 2016: Rs 225.77 crores
    For effective monitoring to curb black money in General Election to Legislative Assemblies of Assam, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Union Territory of Puducherry, Election Commission of India has deployed 295 Expenditure Observers. Commission has also appointed five Special Expenditure Observers; Ms. Madhu Mahajan, ex-IRS(IT):1982 and Sh. B. R Balakrishnan, ex-IRS(IT):1983 (both for Tamil Nadu and UT of Puducherry), Sri B.Murali Kumar, ex-IRS, 1983 batch  (for West Bengal), Ms. Neena Nigam, ex-IRS, 1983 batch (for Assam) and Sri Pushpinder Singh Puniha, ex-IRS, 1985 batch (for Kerala). These officers having formidable domain expertise and impeccable track record are deputed for more effective election expenditure monitoring.  After due assessment, 259 Assembly Constituencies have been marked as Expenditure Sensitive Constituencies for more focussed vigil.
    On expenditure monitoring, Commission has convened various meetings with senior officials of Enforcement Agencies of poll bound States and UT. Seeking the importance of central enforcement agencies in election expenditure monitoring process, Commission also convened a meeting of Revenue Secretary, Chairman CBDT, Chairman CBIC and Director FIU-Ind on 02.03.2021.
    Distributing cash and gifts during electoral process is not permitted under the law, e.g., distribution of money, liquor, or any other item disbursed and given to the electors with the intent to influence them. This expenditure comes under the definition of “bribery” which is an offence both under 171B of IPC and under R.P. Act, 1951. The expenditure on such items is illegal. With the drive for curbing inducements which vitiate electoral process intensifying, the seizure figures are expected to rise further.

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  16. CEC HOLDS A REVIEW MEETING WITH CS West Bengal

    No. ECI/PN/55/2021 
    Dated: 24th April 2021
     
    PRESS NOTE 
    CEC HOLDS A REVIEW MEETING WITH CS West Bengal 
    The Election Commission led by Chief Election Commissioner Shri Sushil Chandra and Election Commissioner Shri Rajiv Kumar  today held meeting with the senior officers of West Bengal including Chief Secretary, ACS(Home), Secretary (Disaster Management), Secretary (Health), DGP, CP Kolkata. CEO West Bengal and State Police Nodal Officer cum ADG(L&O) were also present.
    The Commission noted with concern that during public campaigns for electioneering, the enforcement  under the Disaster Management Act, 2005 has  been less than adequate. Executive Committee of State Disaster Management Authority, chaired by the Chief Secretary of the State and  tasked with the enforcement of COVID-19 appropriate behaviour under the 2005 Act , need to step up its assigned statutory duty.District machinery, which is tasked with election works continue to remain responsible for enforcement of other laws including the DM Act simultaneously. The Commission directed that the SDMA and its functionaries must implement and monitor the implementation of COVID norms during the campaign and take appropriate action in case of any violation. Chief Secretary apprised the Commission that State is in receipt of and noted further directions of ECI  on enforcement of COVID-19 norms during electioneering. He assured that entire machinery has been directed to now onwards take more stringent and prompt steps for sensitization and enforcement of extant instructions under the Act.
    The Commission appreciated the State machinery in flawless arrangements in the polling booth for COVID appropriate behaviour and safe disposal of bio medical waste. It was informed that as per the directions given by the Commission,  following material has been provided foe election purposes
    Sl No
    Items
    Number Procured
    1
     Face Mask
                          2,46,88,000
    2
    Face shields for Polling Personnel & MO
                             17,05,851
    3
    Visor for Face Shield
                             16,81,680
    4
    Hand sanitisers  100 ml for use of polling personnel & MO
                             18,35,833
    5
    Hand sanitisers  500 ml for use of electors
                               2,72,000
    6
    Hand sanitisers 2 litre jerrican
                               1,52,000
    7
    PPEs ( Body suit,N 95 Mask,Gloves,Face shield,Goggles,Head Cover,Shoe cover)
                               1,31,600
    8
    Plastic Hand gloves ( single) for electors (considering 85% turn out)
                          9,00,00,000
    9
    Hand gloves ( in pairs) for PP Rubber)
                             53,76,000
    10
    Covered dustbins  (100 litres)
                               2,61,500
    11
    Plastic bags ( 24'')  to fit into dustbins
                               6,26,000
    Health Secretary also informed that as per Commission’s directions Nodal Health Officers have been assigned at each of the 294 ACs, all 24 CMOH are Nodal Health Officers for their district, apart from State level Nodal Health Officer. He also informed that elaborate arrangements have been made for collection and disposal of gloves discarded by the voters after use at the Polling Stations as bio-medical waste.
    While appreciating the good work done in the last 6 phases ensuring Covid safe arrangements at the polling stations,  Commission directed that regular monitoring of COVID compliant behaviour and action against the violations must be done by the authority. It further directed that appropriate and effective communication strategies must be put in place to inform the voters about Covid safe and secure environment at all polling stations as all Polling stations are being sanitised, all voters are wearing masks and are provided hand glove and hand sanitisation facility and social distancing is being maintained even in the queues. Chief Secretary assured the Commission that all actions for enforcement of covid appropriate behaviour during public gathering for electioneering purposes and otherwise also under the Disaster Management Act 2005 and all other relevant statutory provisions shall be ensured as directed by the Commission.

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

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

    536 downloads

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  18. 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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  19. Polling in Phase 4 Assembly Constituencies in West Bengal conducted today; ECI adjourns polling in PS 126 of 5-Sitalkuchi (SC) Assembly Constituency, Cooch Behar

    No. ECI/PN/46/2021
    Dated: 10th April, 2021
    Polling in Phase 4 Assembly Constituencies in West Bengal conducted today; ECI adjourns polling in PS 126 of 5-Sitalkuchi (SC) Assembly Constituency, Cooch Behar

    415 downloads

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  20. Peaceful Polling concludes across 11,860 Polling Stations ins 35 ACs in last Phase of WB Elections - Repolling in Amtali Madhyamik Siksha Kendra polling station in 5- Sitalkuchi (SC)Assembly Constituency was also conducted today

    No. ECI/PN/58/2021
    Dated: April 29, 2021
    PRESS NOTE
    Peaceful Polling concludes across 11,860 Polling Stations in 35 ACs in last Phase of WB Elections - Repolling in Amtali Madhyamik Siksha Kendra polling station in 5- Sitalkuchi (SC)Assembly Constituency was also conducted today
    Strict preventive measures and Timely seizures of bombs and arms ensures violence free, peaceful elections
    Voters abide by Covid protocols at Polling Booths
    Voter Turnout (at 5 PM) for Phase VIII West Bengal Election 76.07 %
    ECI gives detailed instructions to District authorities to take action under extant rules against Covid protocol violators as also for steps to be followed for Counting arrangements

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  21. Seizures in elections crosses historic milestone of Rs 1000 crores

    Seizures in elections crosses historic milestone of Rs 1000 crores

    84 downloads

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  22. 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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  23. Biennial Election to the Council of States from Kerala to fill the seats of members retiring on 21.04.2021-reg.

    Biennial Election to the Council of States from Kerala to fill the seats of members retiring on 21.04.2021-reg.     

    123 downloads

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  24. Bye Election to the Council of States from West Bengal -reg.

    No. ECI/PN/71/2021 
     Dated: 16th July, 2021
     
    PRESS NOTE
    Subject:    Bye Election to the Council of States from West Bengal -reg. 
    There is a casual vacancy in the Council of States from West Bengal as per following details: -
    State
    Name of Members
    Reason
    Date of vacancy
    Term Up to
    West Bengal
    Shri Dinesh Trivedi
    Resignation
    12.02.2021
    02.04.2026
     
    2.                  The Commission has decided to hold bye-election to the Council of States from West Bengal to fill up the above-mentioned vacancy in accordance with the following schedule: -
    S. No
    Events
    Dates
    1.
    Issue of Notifications
      22nd  July, 2021 (Thursday)
    2.
    Last date of making nominations
    29th July, 2021 (Thursday)
    3.
    Scrutiny of nominations
    30th July, 2021  (Friday)
    4.
    Last date for withdrawal of candidatures
    02nd August, 2021  (Monday)
    5.
    Date of Poll
    09th August, 2021 (Monday)
    6.
    Hours of Poll
    09:00 am-04:00 pm
    7.
    Counting of Votes
    09th August, 2021 (Monday) at 05:00 pm
    8.
    Date before which election shall be completed
    10th August, 2021 (Tuesday)
     
    3.           Broad Guidelines to be followed during entire election process for all persons: -
    I.            Every person shall wear face mask during every election related activity
    II.          At the entry of hall/ room/ premises used for election purposes:
    (a) Thermal Scanning of all persons shall be carried out:
    (b) Sanitizer shall be made available at all locations
    III.         Social distancing shall be maintained as per the extant COVID-19 guidelines of the State Govt. and Ministry of Home Affairs.
     
    4.           The Chief Secretary, West Bengal is being directed to depute a senior officer from the State to ensure that the extant instructions regarding COVID-19 containment measures are complied with while making arrangements for conducting the said bye election.

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