Strict instructions have been issued to officials involved in the polling process to maintain total neutrality during the general elections, Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) V.S. Sampath said here on Sunday.
“Officers have been strictly instructed to remain totally non-aligned,” he added.
This becomes important in the wake of a number of complaints by the Opposition parties regarding biased actions of many district officials.
Mr. Sampath also said that the Election Commission would “come down heavily on officials in case of partiality and inaction on their part.”
The Commission has asked district officials to step up preventive measures such as depositing of licensed arms and execution of non-bailable warrants to keep criminals in check.
“In case of an FIR, action taken report has to be submitted within three days” Mr. Sampath told journalists after meetings with District Magistrates, Superintendents of Police, Chief Secretary and Home Secretary.
He said that “compared to the 2009 general elections, slightly more than double Central Armed Police Forces will be deployed.” Mr. Sampath also said that in every polling booth at least “two armed personnel” would be deployed.
“Political parties have asked us to increase the number of police observers in the State”, he added.
To monitor election expenditure, 294 flying squads and same number of static surveillance teams will be deployed.
Mr. Sampath expressed his satisfaction with regard to the performance of State Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Sunil Kumar Gupta.
“We expect our officials in West Bengal to refer the matter to us in case of taking action against senior political leaders,” he added.
Mr Sampath said matters of availability of electricity, necessary repairing of polling stations etc. would be taken up on a priority basis.