Erode (East) bypoll | Every reasonable step will be taken to ensure free and fair poll, Election Commission assures Madras HC

It says 409 Central Reserve Police Force personnel will be deployed for the election and that the polling process will also be recorded on video

Updated - February 17, 2023 12:35 pm IST

Published - February 16, 2023 08:37 pm IST - CHENNAI

A view of the Lvgo of the Election Commission of India at the Nirvachan Sadan (ECI Headquarters) in New Delhi. Representational image. File

A view of the Lvgo of the Election Commission of India at the Nirvachan Sadan (ECI Headquarters) in New Delhi. Representational image. File | Photo Credit: SUSHIL KUMAR VERMA

The Election Commission of India on Thursday assured the Madras High Court that it would deploy central paramilitary forces, strengthen vigil by flying squads, video record the polling process and take every reasonable step to ensure free and fair byelection in Erode (East) Assembly constituency.

Appearing before the first Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice T. Raja and D. Bharatha Chakravarthy, Senior Counsel G. Rajagopalan, representing the Election Commission, said that 409 Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel would be pressed into service for the bypoll.

The submission was made during the hearing of a writ petition filed by All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) organising secretary C.Ve. Shanmugam apprehending that the ruling Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam might indulge in foul play during the polling of votes on February 27.

Senior Counsel Vijay Narayan, representing the petitioner, said there were 2,26,867 voters in the constituency as per the latest electoral list but a door-to-door survey conducted by the AIADMK cadre found out that around 39,000 names in the list were that of ineligible voters.

He insisted that every due care should be taken to prevent bogus voting. The senior counsel also pressed upon the need for video coverage of the polling process as well as the strong rooms where the Electronic Voting Machines would be stored after the polling and till the counting of votes.

In reply, Mr. Rajagopalan said the Election Commission had released a photo electoral roll and it would be difficult for people to indulge in bogus voting. He also said that the commission would allow only those who produced any one of the 12 authorised identity proofs to vote in the bypoll.

The senior counsel told the court that it could close the case after recording his undertaking that every effort would be taken to ensure a free and fair bypoll. However, when Mr. Narayan insisted on filing of a status report, the senior counsel obtained time from the Bench till Monday for doing so.

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