The Election Commission on Monday ordered enhanced vigil at 185 checkposts on Karnataka’s border with six neighbouring states to prevent any unauthorised movement of inducements such as cash, liquor, freebies and drugs ahead of the May 10 assembly polls.
The Election Commission, led by Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar, held a virtual meet with top officials of Karnataka, its neighbouring states of Goa, Maharashtra, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Kerala as well as representatives of central agencies to review the election arrangements and law and order coordination.
Chief secretaries, police chiefs and nodal police officers of Karnataka and the six neighbouring states and nodal officers of central forces and senior officials from enforcement agencies such as Coast Guard and Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) attended the meeting.
The poll panel directed state teams to enhance vigilance on the state border. CEC Kumar specifically emphasised on the need for vigil at the 185 inter-state checkposts to ensure that no cross-border movement of illicit cash, liquor, drugs, freebies takes place.
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While taking note of seizure of more than Rs 305 crore till date as compared to Rs 83 crore in the last assembly elections, Kumar said there was a need to fix responsibility of local officers failing to control money power. The CEC asked the officials to step up the seizures with support from adjoining border states and instill fear of administration amongst the violators to ensure inducement-free election. He also directed Coast Guard and Narcotics Control Bureau officials to keep strict vigil and help curtail the menace of drugs.
The CEC also directed officials to keep a strict watch over social media for any violations and fake narratives aimed at vitiating the election atmosphere.
He urged the officials to raise the bar further on voter turnout.
Election Commissioner Anup Chandra Pandey sought strict action against anti-social elements, follow-up of pending non-bailable warrants and strict vigil during the ”silence period” — 48 hours before the end of polling — to ensure elections without fear and favour.
Election Commissioner Arun Goel asked the officials to tighten vigilance without causing inconvenience to the public and ensure a thorough follow-up post seizure operations. He noted that the objective of the review was to sensitise neighbouring states also to put in the best efforts for smooth conduct of elections.