Chief Electoral Officer reviews election preparedness

Kerala's Chief Electoral Officer Nalini Netto has said that every effort will be taken to ensure a “level playing field” for political parties contesting the elections.

Ms. Netto was here on Tuesday on a field visit to review the election preparedness of Kozhikode and Wayanad districts. She had a detailed meeting with the District Collectors and election officers of both districts at the collectorate conference hall here.

She said a process of “shadow monitoring” of election candidates was in place to keep tabs on their campaign expenditure.

To a question from the media if women could be spared from election duties, Ms. Netto said considering the huge manpower that an election demanded that could not be possible. “We require over 1.5 lakh personnel for polling booth duty alone… women employees cannot be spared from election duties, especially in Kozhikode, but every effort will be made to facilitate their work,” she said.

However, Ms. Netto said that pregnant women, lactating mothers and physically challenged government employees would be excluded as per the election code.

Ms. Netto said she reviewed the preparation in the district for the elections, including basic facilities for polling stations, finalisation of electoral rolls and condition of electronic voting machines.

Ms. Netto said the electoral rolls would be frozen on March 22. She said that everything “humanly possible” was being done to process all applications received for inclusion on voters’ list.

To a question from the media if there were any polling booths in the district that had been evaluated as sensitive, Ms. Netto said this evaluation would be done on the basis of the profiles of the candidates contesting and booths in question.

Ms. Netto said specific complaints alleging misuse of election vehicles and facilities lodged against officials would be taken seriously and action taken if found true.