- NET Web Desk
Ahead of the forthcoming Assembly polls in Manipur & keeping in view of the escalation in COVID-19 cases, the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Wednesday held a virtual meeting with state’s top administration officials, representatives of political parties and those part of the poll machinery, with an intent to take stock of the poll preparedness along the northeastern state.
The Election Commission of India (ECI) during its meeting asserted that for the first time, the option of postal ballot would be provided to 80+ citizens, Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) and Covid suspects or affected persons in Manipur.
“The postal ballot facility is an optional facility and ensures total secrecy of voting. Representatives of candidates will be present during the process and the total procedure will be videographed. In the state, 14,565 persons with disabilities and over 41,867 80+ citizens have been mapped,” – stated the poll panel.
The main issues raised by the political parties at the meeting included concerns about utilization of money power, illicit liquor, narcotics and intimidation to influence voters. Besides, political stakeholders also requested for strict vigil on election expenses by the candidates for ensuring free and fair polling.
Meanwhile, expressing concerns about pre-poll violence, the political parties demanded deployment of adequate security forces during the poll process along with other relevant measures.
They have also raised concerns about the implementation of strict COVID-19 protocols for ensuring safety of citizens. The Commission also assured the representatives that it has taken cognizance of the suggestions, and it is committed to conduct free, fair, participative, inclusive, inducement-free and Covid safe elections in the state.
During the review meeting, the Commission also emphasized on conducting the elections with 100 per cent vaccinated polling staff, proper sanitization and social distancing at the polling stations.
The term of State Assembly in Manipur is due to expire on March 19, 2022 and elections are scheduled for 60 Assembly Constituencies (ACs), (40 Gen ACs; 1 SC and 19 ST AC) in the State.