Poll heat on, EC meets pol parties
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, January 03: Pushing the momentum to the preparations for the three phased election to the 9th Assembly election, the full team of the Election Commission of India led by its Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalswami met representatives of different political parties today.

The CEC along with Commission member Dr SY Quereishi and Deputy Election Commissioner GP Prasad arrived at Imphal today, while the other member of the ECI Navin Chawla arrived here yesterday.

Straight on his arrival at Imphal today, the CEC along with his men drove to the Old Secretariat and met representatives of different political parties at the office of the Chief Secretary to seek their opinion and suggestions for the upcoming election.

State Chief Electoral Officer RR Rashmi was also present at the meeting.

The EC team which was earlier scheduled to meet the press at 1.55 pm tomorrow will instead address the media at 1 pm tomorrow, said a source.

Rajya Sabha MP and veteran Congress leader Rishang Keishing led the Congress party in the meeting with the EC team.

Later talking to reporters after the meeting Keishing said that the Congress urged the ECI to ensure that the election is held in a free fair manner in the backdrop of the grave law and order situation.

The culture of abducting candidates and intimidating the supporters of any candidate by anti-social elements was also highlighted to the ECI, said Keishing and added that given the ground reality, the Congress urged for adequate security.

The MPP, led by its president Dr L Chandramani, O Joy and Dr Nimaichand Luwang also met the EC team.

After the meeting, Chandramani informed newsmen that they urged the EC team to deploy adequate security at the office of the MPP and also ensure an environment conducive for free and fair election.

The murder of Ch Akaba, a special invitee of the MPP was politically motivated, said Chandramani and added that his death has created fear and apprehension amongst the members of the MPP.

Given this fact, the EC team was urged to provide adequate security to the MPP leaders as well as at its office, added Dr Chandramani.

The MPP also made it clear to the EC team that it is against leaving the sole responsibility of identifying polling stations as sensitive and hyper sensitive to the Government.

The identification process should be done after consulting the leaders of all political parties, said Chandramani.

As there is strong apprehension that the Congress may misuse the State police as well as the Government machinery, the EC team was urged to ensure that Central security forces are deployed at all the polling stations, informed the MPP leader.

The CPI which is a partner of the Congress in the SPF Government also submitted a six point representation to the EC team.

Informing this, MLAs Th Tomba and M Nabadwip said the points contain deployment of armed personnel at all hyper sensitive polling stations, increase number of polling stations, limit candidate use not more than four vehicles, deploy poll observers at all the ACs, defer second phase election on February 15 for a day in view of the Lui-Ngai-Ni festival and educate the people on the election code of conduct.

The BJP led by its State unit president Haobam Borbabu also met the EC team and submitted a memorandum.

The main points raised by the BJP include deployment of adequate security to foil booth capturing and rigging, insist on voter ID card to check proxy voting, deploy one observer at each polling station and to instal video camera at all polling stations.

The CPI (M) urged the EC team to prepone or postpone the second phase polls on February 15 in view of the Lui-Ngai-Ni festival by one day, to deploy armed personnel at hyper sensitive polling stations, instal video cameras to check large scale proxy voting, especially in the hill districts, etc.

The NCP urged the EC team to provide equal security to all the candidates and to deploy adequate security at all the polling stations in the hill districts.

The BSP also submitted its views to the EC team.

The EC team is scheduled to meet the respective DCs, SPs, DIGs, Chief Secretary, DGP and Principal Secretary and then leave Imphal tomorrow.