CEC to keep hawk's eye on paid news

The Election Commission, on Wednesday, said it would keep a hawk’s eye on paid news and asked Karnataka government to shift all poll-related officials from their home districts to ensure free and fair election.

Announcing the date for Karnataka Assembly polls, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) V S Sampath said necessary instructions have been issued to Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Karnataka to ensure briefing to political parties and media in the districts about paid news and the mechanism to check the menace.

To deal with the issue of paid news, a mechanism has been laid out with three tier of media certification and monitoring committees at district, State and ECI  levels, he said. The Commission will also keep tabs on newspaper reports and if there are any complaints about paid news, action will be taken on time bound manner.

The Commissioner also said that election related official or police officer of the rank of inspector and above will not be allowed to continue in his home district.

The commission also asked the State government to transfer the officers against whom the commission has recommended disciplinary action or who have been charged with any lapse during previous elections or for any election related work. He also said any officer against whom charges have been framed in a court of law in any case will not be allowed to take part in election duty.

He said public can lodge their complaints related to poll with toll free call centre no: 1950. Separate website will be announced for the purpose soon.

4.18 cr voters

The voters’ list will be updated till the issue of election notification on April 10 to address the complaint of deletion of names. The CEC said that 4.18 crore voters are eligible to exercise their franchise in the Assembly polls.

Photo electoral rolls will be used during the poll and around 98.69 per cent of voters’ lists with photos were already ready. Two or three days prior to the polling date, a slip containing voter’s photo will be delivered at the doorsteps of voters.

As many as 50,446 booths will be set up for the election to 224 Assembly constituencies, 36 reserved for Scheduled Caste and 15 for Scheduled Tribe.

All polling stations will use electronic voting machines. For greater transparency, candidates would be required to open a separate bank account and meet their election expenses from that account only, Sampath said. All poll processes will be videographed, he added.

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