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Committed to free, fair and safe elections: State CEO Nitin Khade

State CEO (Chief Electoral Officer) Nitin Khade has said that the State Election department is committed to ensure free, fair and safe Assembly election without allowing any money, muscle and liquor power to dampen it.

Committed to free, fair and safe elections: State CEO Nitin Khade

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  28 Feb 2021 12:57 AM GMT

STAFF REPORTER

GUWAHATI: State CEO (Chief Electoral Officer) Nitin Khade has said that the State Election department is committed to ensure free, fair and safe Assembly election without allowing any money, muscle and liquor power to dampen it.

Addressing the media here on Saturday, Khade said, "To make that really happen, we've already activated our monitoring and vigilance wings like the flying squads. Since the poll code of conduct has been already imposed by the Election Commission, we're taking measures from our end. All government banners and hoardings are being removed. The Deputy Commissioners have been asked to remove such hoardings within 72 hours.

"The Election Commission has stressed adherence to COVID protocols; so, we've taken a few extra steps. Now on, the political parties will have to hold public meetings only on grounds that will be identified by the Returning Officers (ROs). We've identified 2,029 such grounds with their respective capacities along with seating arrangement of six-feet in sync with the social-distancing norm. Political parties applying for such grounds will have to abide by the conditions. If any party violates this, we'll report it to the Election Commission with evidence.

"We've 20 companies of CAPF (Central Armed Police Force) at our disposal, and 40 other companies have been already allotted. If we need more forces, we'll send the requirement in due course of time."

On the electorate in the State, Khade said, "The State has 2.31 crore voters, including 442 third-gender voters. It also has 1,08,596 'D' voters. Around 2.41 lakh polling officials will be engaged in the entire election process. COVID protocol will be followed in the polling booths. Besides sanitizer, one-time hand gloves will be used for pressing the button of the EVMs (Electronic Voting Machines).

"Apart from personnel of armed forces, three additional categories – COVID patients, voter over

80 years of age and physically challenged – have also been included in the postal-voting system. The BLOs (Booth Level Officers) will identify such voters and help them apply for postal ballots. If there are any hiccups, one can call 1950 helpline number for details or clarification."

Law and Order Nodal officer Dipak Kedia said, "We've taken action against the history-sheeters. As many as 6,221 non-bailable warrants have been executed. We are also holding inter-agency meetings among the security forces, besides seizure of illegal arms."

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