ECI team winds up Odisha visit, asks officials to maintain impartiality during twin polls

Bhubaneswar: The Election Commission of India (ECI) has asked all government officials, including district Collectors and Superintendents of Police (SPs), to maintain impartiality and transparency during the upcoming simultaneous Lok Sabha and Assembly elections in Odisha.

“The government officials in Odisha should maintain impartiality and transparency during the simultaneous polls. They should be equally accessible to all political parties. The senior officials should create awareness on these issues among their subordinate staff. The ECI has already passed instructions in this regard to the senior officials,” said Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Rajiv Kumar at a presser here today.

The CEC addressed the presser on the concluding day of his three-day visit to the state. A team from the ECI led by the CEC held discussions with the senior officials including the Chief Secretary, Director General of Police (DGP) and the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) during the visit. They also talked to the representatives of various political parties and reviewed preparations for the twin polls.

According to the CEC, Odisha will have altogether 37,809 polling booths during the upcoming elections. The ECI will ensure webcasting at 22,685 polling booths in the state.

“The polling staff will provide details regarding the total votes polled at each booth to the agents of political parties. There will be three-tier security at the warehouse meant for the safe storing of electronic voting machines (EVMs). The central armed police forces (CAPF), the state armed police forces and the district police forces will guard each EVM warehouse. The political parties are allowed to deploy their representatives outside the EVM warehouses. The polling officials can open and seal the warehouses in the presence of representatives of political parties,” said the CEC.

The CEC further revealed that there would be adequate number of election observers to ensure free and fair polls. All these observers will be from outside Odisha, he said.

The ECI has asked all enforcement agencies including the Income Tax department, Enforcement Directorate, GST officials, police and Excise department to keep watch on illegal activities, including distribution of cash and liquor among the voters, during the elections, said the CEC.

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