EC posts all woman team of general observers in Goa

EC posts all woman team of general observers in Goa

 For the first time in the history of elections in India, an all woman team of general observers has been assigned the task of conducting free and fair polls in Goa, the country's tourist hotspot.

While finalising poll schedules for five states, the Election Commission has posted 20 election observers in Goa, all of whom are women, EC sources here said.This is for the first time ever that the EC has put an all woman team in charge of conducting elections in any state.

Males are conspicuously absent from this group of general observers though they figure in the list of expenditure observers the EC has appointed for overseeing flow of funds during campaigning in Goa.

The all woman team of general observers includes three officers each from Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, two each from Haryana and Chhattisgarh and one each from Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Maharashtra.

The decision to appoint an all woman team of bureaucrats as election observers in Goa comes in the wake of certain complaints the EC received in the past over the conduct of senior male bureaucrats who were alleged to have indulged in "improper behaviour" while on election duty in the tourist state.

According to sources, there were reports ranging from male babus allegedly "partying" in night clubs and on cruises.

However, adopting a guarded approach on the move to station women general observers in Goa, Election Commission officials said the decision was taken to avoid hectic lobbying among male bureaucrats keen on election posting to the international tourist destination than anything else.

"A number of officers have been lobbying for election duty in Goa. The move is meant to preempt all that," said a senior EC official.

Asked if the Commission's orders to put an all woman team of general observers in charge of Goa elections had anything to do with reports of male officers "partying" in Goa during poll duty, a senior EC official said, "We give them enough election related work to keep them constructively engaged through their days of duty."

However, among the seven IRS officers appointed as expenditure observers in Goa, which goes to polls on March 3, six are males, with only one woman officer in the group.

The EC's all-woman formula for Goa remains restricted to the list of general observers.

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