‘Deployment of State police gave undue advantage to ruling party’
In a break from the past, there will be maximum deployment of Central paramilitary forces at the polling stations in Uttar Pradesh during the Lok Sabha elections. The six-phase elections for the 80 Lok Sabha constituencies in the State begin on April 10, when polling would be held in 10 seats of western Uttar Pradesh.
The decision on the Central forces was taken by the Election Commission, which held a two-day review meeting of poll preparations in the State on Thursday and Friday. Chief Election Commissioner V.S. Sampath said on Friday that the Commission would ensure that the personnel were deployed effectively to ensure free and fair elections.
The number of polling stations in the State for the 2014 election is 1.40 lakh.
Mr. Sampath, who was accompanied by Election Commissioners H.S. Brahma and Naseem Zaidi, told reporters that strict instructions had been given to the District Magistrates and the district police chiefs to maintain utmost neutrality in their conduct. Directives had been given to bar the entry of unauthorised persons into the booths. Sensitive or critical polling stations would be identified and kept under close vigil.
The poll panel’s decision on deployment of Central forces follows complaints from representatives of political parties that the deployment of only the State police and the Provincial Armed Constabulary (PAC) gave undue advantage to the ruling party.
On transferring officials against whom complaints of conniving with the ruling party had been made by the Opposition parties, the CEC said action would be taken shortly.
Quizzed on a reported complaint by a candidate that people residing in the relief camps in Malakpur in Shamli district should not be allowed to vote as they were allegedly outsiders, Mr. Sampath said anyone who is a resident is eligible to vote. Election Commissioner Naseem Zaidi added that every eligible voter in Muzaffarnagar would be allowed to vote and full protection ensured.
The Commission said issues related to paid news would be monitored 24X7 by the district-level monitoring committee.
PTI adds: The Samajwadi Party on Friday said that the State government was committed to free and fair elections, and questioned honesty of the Opposition parties that had claimed that the State administration was biased.
“Parties that suspected that the administration is biased in SP regime are themselves dishonest. We are here after defeating dishonest persons and committed to ensure free and fair polls,” party spokesman Shivpal Singh Yadav told reporters here on Friday.
The Opposition BJP, Congress and the BSP during their meeting with the Election Commission on Thursday had expressed their suspicion that the State administration under the SP regime might work with bias during polls.
EC holds a two-day
review meeting of poll preparations in the State