Seniormost Election Commissioner V.S. Sampath, who was appointed as the new Chief Election Commissioner in the place of Mr. S.Y. Quraishi, on Monday assumed Charge and announced that the schedule for the President poll will be out shortly and all the preparatory work was in full swing.
Talking to journalists, along with Election Commissioner H.S. Brahma, after assuming office here at Nirvachan Sadan, Mr. Sampath said similarly preparations for the forthcoming Assembly polls in Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Tripura and Meghalaya were also on and training of polling personnel had already began. "Work relating to electoral rolls revision and polling station rationalisation has been taken up. The Commission will start visiting these states soon," he said.
Regarding the Commission's priorities, he said it wanted to ensure distribution of elector photo identity card, without any error, for all the voters. Similarly the names of all the eligible voters included in the electoral roll. The Commission also wanted to seriously pursue electoral reforms pending with the government and those include decriminalisation of politics, he said.
Use of money power in elections disturbed the level playing field and vitiates the purity of elections. "Our objectives will be two fold – to ensure legal expenses like rally, poster, banner, vehicles etc are kept within the ceiling limits, while simultaneously ensuring that illegal expenses like bribing the voters with cash or kind is effectively prevented," he said.
A 1973-batch IAS officer of Andhra Pradesh cadre, Mr. Sampath was Power Secretary in the central government before entering Nirvachan sadan on April 21, 2009, as Election Commissioner. He will have term till January 16, 2015.