Patna: The Election Commission of India (ECI), on Saturday assessed preparations for the upcoming Bihar Assembly elections and said that it would make sure that the weaker sections are not threatened during the polls.
Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi said: "Good thing about the electoral rolls here (Patna) is that there is 99.98 percent photo electoral rolls. In the past 2 years, there has been an increase of about 47 lakh voters. The electoral population ratio has increased to 0.59, which was 0.54 in 2012."
"Political parties have asked Election Commission to make effective arrangements so that people from weaker sections are not threatened. They have also highlighted the need to maintain social and communal harmony during election process," Zaidi stated.
"They have requested the Election Commission to take appropriate steps that single window system, which is required for clearances of permission, must be established so that they are able to get their permissions in time," he added.
Zaidi further stated that the Election Commission has issued directions to field level machinery on the basis of feedback received from the parties and some of their points. The followings are some of the directions:
"We directed district level officials that they should publicize the continuous updation process, in which left out citizens can get their name registered. We have also told them to take adequate care that there is no suo moto deletion of names of voters. There is a mechanism evolved that deletion of names can only take place under the direction of Commission. We have directed them that they will have to re-dedicate themselves to conduct fair, peaceful & voter friendly elections."
"Very important direction has been given that the voters' list, which will be given to the candidates, and the one, which will be available with the presiding officer on the polling day, will have to be identical."
"With regard to electoral photo identity card, commission has directed that there should be 100 percent distribution. The photo voter list has to be distributed at least 5 days before. We have issued a helpline 1950 on district level, for assistance. Have made a state call centre at the state level, where people can complain and we will try to give solutions over the call."
"We have directed all the district magistrates that they must ensure provisioning of basic minimum facilities, such as drink water, toilets, lighting facilities and etc."
The Election Commission had published the final electoral rolls on July 31.
The assembly polls in Bihar would be held most likely in September or October this year.