Top cops to monitor election

Election Commission aims to ensure free, fair polls in all five states

The Election Commission (EC) may deploy at least 150 IPS officers in five poll-bound states to monitor law and order during elections.

The officers, to be drawn from different states, will be deployed in Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Uttarakhand, Goa and Manipur during the Assembly elections starting January 28.

“They will report directly to the EC. If needed, they can give on-the-spot directive to ensure peaceful and fair polling," an EC source said.

Prior to deployment, the EC will brief the officers on how to work with the local police. At least 80,000 paramilitary personnel, apart from state police, will be deployed during the multi-phase Assembly elections in five states.

The EC had announced a seven-phase poll schedule for UP between February 4 and 28, while Punjab and Uttarakhand will go to the polls on January 30. Polling in Manipur is on January 28 and Goa on March 3.

Votes in all the states will be counted on March 4. The highest number of paramilitary personnel may be deployed in politically sensitive Uttar Pradesh, the country's most populous state with 403 Assembly constituencies. While Punjab, Uttarakhand and Goa saw less violence in past elections, Manipur, which has been plagued by insurgency, may need heavy deployment of forces.

Notice to SAD nominee  The district electoral officer in Fraidkot has issued a notice to Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) candidate from Faridkot constituency, Deep Malhotra, for allegedly promising to give utensils to Dalits and poor families. Such an act would violate the poll code.

The officer alleged that Malhotra had also promised needy girls to give utensils when they get married.

District electoral officer Ravi Bhagat said Malhotra had placed hoardings at his constituency, promising the items in exchange for votes. Malhotra said the initiative was taken in memory of his father, a liquor baron who used to distribute sewing machines to poor families.

The same advertisement was also telecast in a local channel, alleged Bhagat. Any hoarding or TV advertisement without permission is illegal.

It is the third show cause notice to be issued to political parties in Faridkot in the last three days. On Monday, show cause notices were issued to BSP and People’s Party of Punjab for holding separate meetings without taking permission.

SP finalises candidates

The Samajwadi Party in Lucknow has ruled out any further changes in the list of candidates for the UP Assembly polls. With the consent of national president Mulayam Singh Yadav, state SP chief Akhilesh Yadav has released a final list of 394 candidates, SP spokesperson Rajendra Chanudhary said.

Akhilesh has appealed the candidates to honour the decision of the leadership and ensure victory of party nominees. The SP had changed its candidates at several constituencies in the past, which led to speculation that the party may change its nominees again.

Rs 8.50 lakh seized

Special surveillance teams in Punjab, formed ahead of the Assembly polls in Punjab, seized Rs 8.50 lakh unaccounted cash in two separate cases on Wednesday, police said.

At least Rs 7.50 lakh was recovered from Vipin Goel of Dirba Mandi, who failed to explain the source of the money, SSP Sangrur Harcharan Singh Bhullar said.

In the other case, a surveillance team seized Rs 1 lakh unaccounted cash from Parminder Goel of Kohrian village. The cash was hidden in his car. Bhullar said the income tax department has been informed about the unaccounted cash seized from the two persons.

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