Tracking digital payments a challenge: CEC

Chief Election Commissioner Om Prakash Rawat, who is on a three-day visit to the state to review election preparedness, said on Friday that it has become a challenge for the election commission to track the digital transfer of money, especially through apps.

Rawat held discussions with state election commission officials and also with representatives of political parties during his visit.

"The commission is committed to maintaining the purity of elections and to deliver free, fair and transparent elections. We are keeping a close watch on bank transactions and the income tax department is also keeping a vigil. We request the public to share information about the violation of the model code of conduct and a complaint can also be lodged with the income tax department. It is difficult to track the digital payment mode and certain app-based monetary transactions,'' Rawat said.

He said the election expenditure monitoring teams will be set up and 136 expenditure observers will be deployed. The vehicles used by flying squads will be fitted with GPS, he said.

Rawat said that all the 58,546 polling stations (of 224 Assembly constituencies) will have electronic voting machines (EVM) with Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT).

"In order to enhance transparency, the commission has directed that one polling station of each Assembly constituency shall be randomly selected and VVPAT slips will be counted and matched with its EVM result.

Reacting to issues raised by former prime minister H D Deve Gowda, the CEC said that he has asked the state Chief Electoral Officer to look into it.

When specifically asked about Deve Gowda's complaint against Kempaiah, former IPS officer and adviser to the home minister, Rawat said, "I have directed the Karnataka CEO to come down heavily on police officers or poll officials who heed to the diktat of extra-constitutional authorities.''

Deve Gowda had met Rawat and later speaking to the media, accused Kempaiah of misusing government machinery in the elections.

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