Bihar polls: Political parties meet CEC with demands, suggestions for fair polls

Representatives of various political parties on Sunday met the Election Commission.

Patna: Representatives of various political parties on Sunday met the Election Commission here and demanded a slew of measures to ensure free, fair and peaceful polling in the remaining phases of the Bihar Assembly elections.

The major demands included deployment of Central Paramilitary Forces (CPMF) at booths, steps to maintain communal harmony during festive season, checks on announcements by central ministers that may work as inducement to voters, monitoring of paid news, strengthening of single window system in order to get easy and quick approval and permissions to hold rallies, use of helicopters etc.

Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi, Election Commissioners A K Joti and Om Prakash Rawat met the representatives of different political parties to get feedback and suggestions from them.

A three-member full fledged Commission led by Zaidi is on a two-day visit to Bihar to take stock of preparedness for the fourth and fifth phases of Assembly elections.

A BJP delegation, led by the party's state president Mangal Pandey, demanded deployment of CPMF at booths and not outside as it happened in the earlier two phases of polling, appointment of special observers in Nalanda district, which is the CM's home district, as the party apprehends irregularities.

BJP also asked the Commission to keep a tab on officials denying permission for holding the Prime Minister's rally at the behest of the state government, Pandey told reporters.

A delegation of ruling JD(U), led by its MLC Ramvachan Rai, raised the issue of Dharmendra Pradhan's announcement of giving LPG connections free of cost to poor women and termed it as "inducement" to voters.

"The Commission should also keep a close watch on paid news besides keeping a tab on rumours, which may be spread during the festive season in order to vitiate the atmosphere," Rai said, adding Dalit voters should be given adequate security as they were being intimidated.

The RJD delegation, which was led by party national spokesman Manoj Jha, demanded steps be taken to ensure communal harmony. Jha also demanded that if any political party gives donation to any puja organiser, then the expenditure be included in the candidate's account.

Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) spokesman Anil Kishore Jha said the single window system, which was introduced for the first time in the elections, was not working properly and should be strengthened so that approvals or permission for holding rallies, flying of helicopters, helipad for landing etc. Be given within the specified time limit of 36 hours.

The Commission also interacted with top government officials, including officers of home department, Chief Electoral Office, IG (CRPF) and senior police officers.

They also held a meeting with the state chief electoral officer (CEO), police, excise and income tax officials to review election expenditure management.

On Monday, the Commission would hold a meeting at Muzaffarpur to review the poll preparedness for the fourth and fifth phases of polling and would interact with CEO, state nodal officers, district election officers, commissioners, IGs, DIGs, SSPs etc.

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