EC reviews law and order, security situation for Lok Sabha polls

New Delhi: The Election Commission (EC) on Wednesday directed the chief secretaries and directors general of police of all states as well as the heads of central agencies to ensure peaceful and inducement-free Lok Sabha polls and take preemptive measures to address communal tensions based on past experiences.

Recent violence and turmoil in Manipur and its ramifications for the conduct of a peaceful election were also addressed, with the EC urging for swift action to assist internally-displaced persons and ensure their participation in the electoral process, the poll panel said.

In his remarks, Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar said it is the “most important and crucial” meeting that takes place every five years of the election cycle.

The EC had convened the meeting to bring all the stakeholders concerned on one platform for a seamless coordination and cooperation among the officials of neighbouring states and Union territories.

Other key issues discussed at the meeting included a diligent deployment of central forces, logistical support for the movement and transportation of the security personnel and identification and monitoring of flashpoints in border areas that might have ramifications for the election process, the poll panel said.

The commission underscored the importance of strict vigilance to curb the movement of contraband items, including narcotics, liquor, arms and explosives, across the international borders.

It also sought identification of the entry and exit points for the movement of liquor and cash along the borders and the curbing of illegal ganja cultivation in some states.

The commission reviewed the support from the Indian Air Force (IAF) and state civil aviation departments for sorties to ferry polling teams in challenging regions of 11 states, including Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra.

Directions were given for adequate security measures to safeguard political functionaries and candidates based on their threat perception, particularly in states like Chhattisgarh and the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir.