ECI directs Chief Secretaries and Director General of Police of all States/UTs and heads of central agencies to ensure peaceful and inducement free General Elections

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NewDelhi, Apr 03, 2024, PIB

The Election Commission of India today convened a crucial meeting with all States/UTs to review and assess the law and order situation, prevention of illicit activities, seizures and strict vigil across inter-state and international borders in the ongoing General Elections to Lok Sabha and State Legislative Assemblies 2024 for a free, fair, peaceful and inducement free elections. The purpose of the combined review was to bring all concerned stakeholders together on the same platform for a seamless coordination and cooperation amongst officials of the neighboring states/UTs along with central agencies guarding the borders. The Commission, in detail, reviewed critical issues pertaining to each State/UT.The meeting chaired by Chief Election Commissioner Shri Rajiv Kumar along with ECs Shri Gyanesh Kumar and Shri Sukhbir Singh Sandhu was attended by top officials from States/UTs and central agencies guarding the borders.CEC Rajiv Kumar in his opening remarks underscored Commission’s commitment to ensuring free, fair, peaceful, and inducement-free elections, and called upon all stakeholders to work together seamlessly to uphold the integrity of the electoral process and ensure level playing field. He directed States/UTs to ensure that every voter can exercise their right to vote without fear or intimidation. CEC Shri Kumar called on all States/UTs and agencies to convert their ‘resolve’ into concrete ‘actions’ for a free, fair, peaceful and intimidation-free elections.Key issues discussed during the meeting included the need for enhanced coordination among neighboring States/UTs, diligent deployment of CAPF provided adequately in all States/UTs; logistical support for movement and transport on CAPF personnel in bordering poll going State/UT; identification and monitoring of  flashpoints in border areas that may have ramifications on the election process; preemptive measures to address communal tensions based on past experiences, and the imperative of securing porous borders against illegal activities. The Commission underscored the importance of strict vigilance to curb the movement of contraband items, including narcotics, liquor, arms, and explosives across international borders. Directed for identification of exit and entry points for movement of liquor and cash along the borders, curbing of illegal Ganja cultivation in some states.The Commission reviewed support from Indian Air force and state civil aviation department for sorties to ferry polling teams in challenging regions of 11 states like Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra.  Directions were given for adequate security measures to safeguard political functionaries and candidates based on threat perception, particularly in states like Chhattisgarh and Jammu & Kashmir. The recent violence and turmoil in Manipur and ramifications in conduct of peaceful elections were also addressed, with the Commission urging swift action to assist Internally Displaced Persons and ensure their participation in the electoral process.The following general directions were given:Chief Secretary, DGP, Principal Secretary (Home), Pr Secretary (Excise), Chief Electoral officer and State Police Nodal Officer of all States/UTs. Heads of Central Agencies involved in guarding borders namely Border Security Force, Assam Rifles, Sashastra Seema Bal, Indo Tibetan Border Police and Coast Guard along with heads of CRPF, Central CAPF nodal officer, Additional Secretary MHA and representatives from M/o Defence and Railways attended the review meeting