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Lok Sabha polls 2024: ECI reviews law and order, security situation

The polls body asked officials to focus on tight border surveillance and enhanced measures in high-risk states.

Screenshot 2024 04 04 101450NEW DELHI: The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Wednesday issued directives to all Chief Secretaries, Director Generals of Police (DGPs), and heads of central agencies including border guarding forces to ensure peaceful and inducement-free Lok Sabha elections.

The poll panel, which held a high-level review meeting with senior officials from across the country including those from states, Union Territories (UTs) and Union ministries of home and Defence along with forces attached to them, has also asked them to take preemptive measures to address communal tensions based on the past experiences.

These directives were aimed at maintaining law and order, preventing illicit activities and also to uphold the integrity of the electoral process, a senior ECI official told TNIE, while adding that the recent violence and turmoil in Manipur and its ramifications for the conduct of a peaceful election were also addressed.

The ECI asked the officials to take swift action to assist internally-displaced persons and ensure their participation in the electoral process, they said.

After the review meeting, the poll panel in a statement said, “In his remarks, Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar said it is the ‘most important and crucial’ deliberation that takes place every five years of the election cycle.” He also told the officials that the ECI seeks to deliver “absolutely spotless elections”.

The ECI had convened the meeting to bring all the stakeholders concerned on one platform for a seamless coordination and cooperation among the officials of neighbouring states and Union territories, it said.

“Key issues discussed during the meeting included enhanced coordination among neighboring States and UTs, deployment of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs), logistical support for CAPF movement, identification and monitoring of potential flashpoints, preemptive measures to address communal tensions, and securing porous borders against illegal activities,” a senior ECI official said, adding that particular attention was given to curbing the movement of contraband items such as “narcotics, liquor, arms, and explosives” across international borders. Directions have also been issued to identify exit and entry points for the movement of illicit goods, including liquor and cash, along borders, he said.

Since the officials from the Ministry of Defence were also present during the meeting, the commission reviewed the support from the Indian Air Force for sorties to ferry polling teams in challenging regions of 11 states, including Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra.

Directions were given for adequate security measures to safeguard political functionaries and poll candidates based on their threat perception, particularly in states like Chhattisgarh and the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.

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