Avoid even minor mistakes, CEC cautions poll observers

Avoid even minor mistakes, CEC cautions poll observers

Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora. (PTI File Photo)

Even the most "minor mistakes" committed at times have the potential to spiral into avoidable news reporting, Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora cautioned observers appointed for the Maharashtra and Haryana polls on Monday, urging them to strictly follow standard operating procedures.

The chief election commissioner was addressing observers appointed for the two assembly elections at a briefing organised for them.

He also said the observers, as EC's appointed nominees, need to be vigilant, neutral and responsive in their approach to all stakeholders at field level.

Both the states will go for assembly elections on October 21. The counting of votes will take place on October 24.

Around 500 officers drawn from IAS, IPS, as also from the Indian Revenue Service and a few other central services attended the briefing meeting.

These officers are being deployed as general, police and expenditure observers.

"He stated that the observers should ensure strict compliance of EC's rules and standard operating procedures to be followed. Arora pointed out that the officers need to be extremely careful to ensure that no mistakes are committed," a statement issued by the commission said.

Arora cautioned that "even the most minor of mistakes at times spiral into avoidable news reporting".

He said the observers, as ECI appointed nominees, need to be vigilant, neutral and responsive in their approach to all stakeholders at field level.

Keeping in view specific requirements, the commission has also appointed two special expenditure observers for Maharashtra -- Madhu Mahajan (ex IRS 1982) and B Murali Kumar ( ex IRS 1983).

Mahajan was also appointed special expenditure observer for Tamil Nadu in the recent Lok Sabha elections also.

Kumar was appointed special expenditure observer for Vellore parliamentary constituency during the Lok Sabha polls.

Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa noted that EC's procedures for the field level functionaries are well laid out.

"The EC expects and depends a lot on the observers as the ground level officers also depend a lot on expert advice and impartial perspective of the Observers so posted," Lavasa said.

Addressing the group, another Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra said observers they have a crucial statutory duty to perform on behalf of the commission.

He exhorted the officers to observe all due details with respect to smooth conduct of elections on the ground level - be it the assured minimum facilities at polling stations or the diligent following of laid down procedures of mock poll.

During the half-day long briefing, the officers were given comprehensive inputs about the various aspects of election management, the statement added.

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