Gandhinagar: Election Commission of India (EC) officials visited Gujarat today and took stock of the situation, by conducting review meetings with political party leaders, top police officials, the home secretary as well as all district collectors.
Later, Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath, accompanied by other top officials including Election Commissioner H S Brahma, Deputy Election Commissioner Vinod Zutsi, Deputy Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi and Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Gujarat Anita Karwal, among others, interacted with reporters and shared insights about election preparations in Gujarat.
"This time, the total number of voters in Gujarat are 4.06 crore, including 2.12 crore men and 1.94 women. Among these, 11.67 lakh are between the age group of 18 to 19 years. There will be 45,380 polling stations in Gujarat, including 450 model polling stations," Sampath said.
Sampath also gave details about seizures of cash and liquor by authorities as well as notices given to candidates and political parties about "paid news" complaints.
"Until now, Rs 2.2 crore in cash and liquor worth Rs 12.57 crore have been seized in Gujarat. To stop the misuse of the media, we have issued 92 notices regarding paid news. Among these, 15 cases have been confirmed by us as paid news. Appropriate action will be taken in that regard," Sampath said.
Sampath also clarified that social media platforms would be considered as part of the media. "Thus, any advertisement on social media by candidates will be counted as his expediture," Sampath said, also assuring political parties that their grievances and complaints would be addressed.
"Political parties have complained that party expenditure on campaigns is booked against the candidate by some expenditure observers. We have ordered an inquiry into that matter and asked observers not to book party expenditure against the candidates," Samapth said.
"We have designated 21 expenditure observers (EO), 208 assistant EOs, 563 flying sqauds and 483 static surveillance teams across the state. We have ordered them to keep a close watch on hate speeches and attempts to bribe or intimidate voters," Sampath said.
Gujarat is scheduled to hold single-phase polls for all 26 seats on April 30 in the seventh phase.