M. Malleswara Rao

HYDERABAD: Candidates contesting the elections will be under closer watch this time as never before.

Wherever a candidate goes out for campaigning, a videographer will follow him like a shadow to record his speeches so that the Election Commission (EC) can, if necessary, verify whether he had violated the code.

The videographers will also shoot visuals of the contestant’s convoy which, according to rules, should not consist of more than three vehicles. Over 3,000 videographers have been engaged for this purpose all over the State.

In addition, the movement of the candidate will be closely observed by three Central observers this time (earlier two only) in case of a Lok Sabha constituency and they will deal with all matters, unlike in the past when there was one for monitoring expenditure and the other for adherence to the poll code.

Observers

For the first time, one Central observer has been posted to each Assembly constituency.

Earlier, the two observers deputed to a Lok Sabha constituency used to deal with the Assembly segments therein.

In all, 220 out of the 420 Central observers drafted from among the IAS officers in other States, are arriving on Monday when the candidates of Phase I polling will begin campaign with nominations coming to a close.

The scope for malpractices on the polling day too is also sought to be minimised.

At the trouble-prone polling stations, numbering 40,000 , there will be micro-observers drafted from Central staff, one each, to keep a watch on the goings-on in the booth.

New role to agents

The election results will be announced after studying the observations of these observers and not necessarily on the noting in the presiding officer’s diary as earlier. Further, polling agents of political parties at the booths have been assigned a new role to act as eyes and ears of the EC.

Election this time will involve deployment of four lakh polling officials and 80,000-strong police force, including 10,000 men of the Central forces.