Poll dates announced in Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Rajasthan and Delhi, counting on December 8
New Delhi: The terms of the Legislative Assemblies of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Rajasthan and Delhi are normally due to expire as follows:
Madhya Pradesh 12.12.2013
As per the established practice, the Election Commission holds the General Elections to the Legislative Assemblies of the States whose terms expire around the same time, together.
By virtue of its powers, duties and functions under Article 324 read with Article 172(1) of the Constitution of India and Section 15 of Representation of the People Act, 1951, the Commission is required to hold elections to constitute the new Legislative Assemblies in the said States of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Rajasthan and Delhi before expiry of their present terms.
(1) Assembly Constituencies
The total number of Assembly Constituencies in the States of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Rajasthan and Delhi and seats reserved for the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes, as determined by the Delimitation Commission under the Delimitation Act, 2002 are as under: -
Total No. of Assembly Constituencies
Reserved for SCs
Reserved for STs
(2) Electoral Rolls
The Electoral Rolls of all existing Assembly Constituencies in the States of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram, Rajasthan and Delhi on the basis of the electoral rolls revised with reference to 1.1.2013 as the qualifying date and have been finally published on 12.09.2013, 24.07.2013, 16.08.2013, 06.09.2013 and 09.09.2013 respectively. The number of electors in these States, as on date, are as under:
Total No. of Electors
(3) Photo Electoral Rolls
Photo electoral rolls will be used during the forthcoming general elections and photo percentages in Photo Electoral Rolls of States are as follows:-
Percentage of Photo Electoral Rolls
(4) Electors Photo Identity Cards (EPIC)
Identification of the voters at the polling booth at the time of poll shall be mandatory. Electors who have been provided with EPIC shall be identified through EPIC. Presently, the EPIC coverage in these States is as under:-
Percentage of EPIC
All the residual electors are advised to obtain their Elector Photo Identity Cards from the Electoral Registration Officers of their Assembly Constituencies urgently.
In order to ensure that no voter is deprived of his/her franchise, if his/her name figures in the Electoral Rolls, separate instructions will be issued to allow additional documents for identification of voters, if needed.
(5) Polling Stations
Polling Stations in the poll going States as on the date of final publication of electoral rolls are as follows:
No. of Polling Stations
For the facility of physically challenged persons, instructions have been issued to ensure that all polling stations as far as practicable, are located at ground floor and ramps are provided. Facilitation shall also be provided for locating electors’ names in a polling station or a group of polling stations through help lines and facilitation centers.
(6) Polling Parties and Randomization
Polling parties shall be formed randomly, through special application software. Three-stage randomization will be adopted. First, from a wider district database of eligible officials, a shortlist of a minimum 120% of the required numbers will be randomly picked up. This group will be trained for polling duties. In the second stage, from this trained manpower, actual polling parties as required shall be formed by random selection software in the presence of General Observers. In the third randomization, the polling stations will be allocated randomly just before the polling party’s departure. There shall be randomization for such Police Constables and Home guards also, who are deployed at the polling stations on the poll day.
(7) Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs)
The poll in these States will be conducted at all polling stations using EVMs. The Commission has already made arrangements to ensure availability of adequate number of EVMs for the smooth conduct of elections. The Commission has issued a new set of instructions with regard to the First Level Check of EVMs, that will be used in the poll in these States. The First Level Check of EVMs, has been done in the presence of representatives of political parties. A two-stage randomization of EVMs will be made. In the first stage, all the EVMs stored in the district storage centre will be randomized by the District Election Officer (DEO) in the presence of the representatives of the recognized political parties for allocation assembly constituency-wise. EVMs will be prepared and set for elections after finalization of the contesting candidates. At this stage also, candidates or their agents/representatives will be allowed to check and satisfy themselves in every manner about the functionality of the EVMs. After the EVMs in a constituency are prepared for the poll by the Returning Officer and the ballot units are fitted with ballot papers, then the EVMs will again be randomized to decide the actual polling stations in which they will be ultimately used. The Second Stage randomization will be done in the presence of Observers, Candidates or their Election Agents.
(8) None of the Above (NOTA) Option in EVMs
In its judgment dated 27th September, 2013 in Writ Petition (C) No. 161 of 2004, the Supreme Court has directed that there should be a “None of the Above” (NOTA) option on the ballot papers and EVMs. The Court has directed that the Commission should implement it ‘either in a phased manner or at a time with the assistance of Government of India’. For implementing the NOTA option, the Commission is preparing detailed instructions for issue to the Chief Electoral Officers of all States/Union Territories.
On the Balloting Unit, below the name of the last candidate, there will now be a button for NOTA option so that electors who do not want to vote for any of the candidates can exercise their option by pressing the button against NOTA.
The Commission is taking steps to bring this to the knowledge of voters and all other stakeholders and to train all field level officials including the polling personnel about the NOTA option.
(9) Affidavits of candidates – all columns to be filled in
In pursuance of the judgment dated 13th September, 2013 passed by the Supreme Court in Writ Petition (C) No. 121 of 2008, which among other things makes it obligatory for the Returning Officer “to check whether the information required is fully furnished at the time of filing of affidavit with the nomination paper”, the Commission has issued instructions that in the affidavit to be filed along with the nomination paper, candidates are required to fill up all columns. If any column in the affidavit is left blank, the Returning Officer will issue a notice to the candidate to file the affidavit with all columns filled in. After such notice, if a candidate fails to file affidavit complete in all respect, the nomination paper will be liable to be rejected at the time of scrutiny. The Chief Electoral Officers have been directed to brief all Returning Officers about the judgment of the Supreme Court and the Commission’s instructions.
(10) Communication plan
The Commission attaches great importance to preparation and implementation of a perfect communication plan at the district/constituency level for the smooth conduct of elections and to enable concurrent intervention and mid course correction on the poll day. For the said purpose, the Commission has directed the Chief Electoral Officers of all the polling going states to coordinate with the officers of Telecommunication Department in the State headquarters, BSNL/MTNL authorities, the representatives of other leading service providers in the State so that network status in the State is assessed and communication shadow areas be identified. The CEOs have also been advised to ensure best communication plan in their States.
All critical events will be video-graphed. District Election Officers will arrange sufficient number of video and digital cameras and camera teams for the purpose. The events for videography will include filing of nominations, scrutiny thereof and allotment of symbols, First Level Checking, preparations and storage of Electronic Voting Machines, important public meetings, processions etc. during campaign, process of dispatching of postal ballot papers, polling process in identified vulnerable polling stations, storage of polled EVMs, counting of votes etc. Digital cameras will also be deployed inside polling booths wherever needed and inside all counting centers. CDs of video recordings will be available on payment to anyone who wishes to obtain a copy of the same.
(12) Law and Order and Deployment of Forces
Conduct of elections involves elaborate security management. It includes ensuring the security of polling personnel, security at the polling stations, security of polling materials and also the overall security of the election process. Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) are deployed for area domination prior to poll in order to build confidence in the minds of voters specially vulnerable voters viz. weaker section, minorities etc. Keeping all this in mind, the very designing of the poll schedule, sequencing of multi-phase elections and choice of constituencies for each phase had to follow the logic of force availability and force management.
The Commission has taken various measures to ensure free and fair elections by creating an atmosphere in which each elector is able to access the polling station without being obstructed or being unduly influenced/intimidated by anybody.
Based on the assessment of the ground situation, Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) and State Armed Police (SAP) drawn from other States will be deployed during the ensuing general elections. The CAPF and SAP will be used generally for safeguarding the polling stations and for providing security to the electors and polling personnel at the polling stations on the poll day. Besides, these forces will be used for securing the strong rooms where the EVMs are stored and for securing the counting centers and for other purposes, as required.
The Commission has been issuing instructions from time to time with regard to the advance preventive measures to be taken by the District Magistrates and Police authorities to maintain the Law & Order and to create atmosphere conducive for the conduct of free and fair elections. The Commission will be constantly monitoring the ground situation closely and will take appropriate measures to ensure peaceful, free and fair polls in these States.
(13) General Observers
The Commission will deploy General Observers in adequate number to ensure smooth conduct of elections. The Observers will be asked to keep a close watch on every stage of the electoral process to ensure free and fair elections. Their names, addresses within the district/constituency and their telephone numbers will be publicized in local newspapers so that the general public can quickly approach them for any grievance redressal. The Observers will be given a detailed briefing by the Commission before their deployment. Commission may also deploy Police Observers to keep a close watch on law & order situation.
(14) Election Expenditure Monitoring
Comprehensive instructions for the purpose of effective monitoring of the election expenditure of the candidates have been issued, which include formation of flying squads, static surveillance Teams, video surveillance Teams, involvement of Investigation Directorates of Income Tax Deptt. etc. State Excise Departments and police authorities have been asked to monitor production, distribution, sale and storage of liquor and other intoxicants during the election process.
For greater transparency and for ease of monitoring of Election Expenses, Candidates would be required to open a separate bank account and incur their election expenses from that very account. The political parties are also advised not to incur any expenditure in cash beyond Rs. 20,000/- also advised not to carry cash above Rs. 50,000/- to the poll going state during the election process. The Investigation Directorate of Income Tax Dept. has been asked to open Air Intelligence unit in the airports of these states and also to gather intelligence and take necessary action against movement of large sum of money in these states.
Expenditure Observers and Assistant Exp. Observers from Central Government are being appointed to keep close watch on election expenditure of the candidates. Control room and Complaint Monitoring Centre with 24 hours toll free numbers shall be operative during the entire election process. Banks and financial intelligence units of Government of India have been asked to forward suspicious cash withdrawal reports to the election officials.
All candidates must ensure that they file their affidavits in the revised format (Form 26) only. The revised format is available on the ECI website and in Returning Officer’s handbook.
(15) Paid News
To deal with the issue of ‘Paid News’, a mechanism has been laid out with three tier of Media certification and Monitoring Committees (MCMC) at District, State and ECI level. Revised comprehensive instruction on ‘Paid News’ has been issued on 27th August 2012 and is available on the Commission’s Website.
Necessary instructions have been issued to the CEOs of the poll going states to ensure briefing of political parties and Media in the districts about ‘Paid News’ and the mechanism to check ‘Paid News’. Representatives of Political Parties and Media Organizations of poll going states have also been briefed at Election Commission. The MCMCs of all states have been trained to do their job.
(16) Police Observers
The Commission has decided to deploy IPS officers as Police Observers in district level, in the poll going States depending upon the sensitivity. They will monitor all activities relating force deployment, law and order situation and co-ordinate between civil and Police administration to ensure free and fair election.
(17) Awareness Observers
For the first time, the Commission will deploy Central Awareness Observers to oversee the efficient and effective management of the electoral process at the field level mainly in the field of voter awareness and facilitation. Awareness Observers will be deployed in two phases of seven days each and shall observe the interventions undertaken by the election machinery to bridge the gap in people’s participation in the electoral process particularly in voters’ turnout. They shall also monitor the various media related aspects of RP Act 1951 and also observe the mechanism directed by the Commission at district levels on checking the problem of ‘Paid News’.
(18) Micro Observers
In addition to General Observers, the Commission will also deploy Micro Observers to observe the poll proceedings in the polling stations on the poll day in selected critical polling stations. They will be chosen from Central Government/Central PSUs officials. Micro-Observers will observe the proceedings at the polling stations on the poll day right from the mock poll to the completion of poll and the process of sealing of EVMs and other documents to ensure that all instructions of the Commission are complied with by the Polling Parties and the Polling Agents. They will report to the General Observers directly about any vitiation of the poll proceedings in their allotted polling stations.
(19) Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP)
Comprehensive measures for voters’ education were taken up during the Roll Revision process in the five poll going states. These measures will continue during the electoral process. Chief Electoral Officers of the five poll-going states have been directed to ensure wide dissemination of election related information and also for carrying out Voter Education campaigns as well as adequate facilitation measures for ensuing wider participation of people in polling. State and District SVEEP plans have been approved by the Commission based on comprehensive KABP (Knowledge, Attitude, Behaviour, Practices) Survey and these are being implemented in partnership with a host of governmental and non-governmental departments and agencies. Targeted interventions have been taken up to meet shortfall in turnout among various segments of population at polling station levels.
(20) Conduct of Officials
The Commission expects all officials engaged in the conduct of elections to discharge their duties in an impartial manner without any fear or favour. They are deemed to be on deputation to the Commission and shall be subject to its control, supervision and discipline. The conduct of all Government officials who have been entrusted with election related responsibilities and duties would remain under constant scrutiny of the Commission and strict action shall be taken against those officials who are found wanting on any account.
The Commission has already given instructions that no election related official or Police officer of the rank of Inspector and above shall be allowed to continue in his home district. Besides, instructions have also been issued that election related officials including police officials of Inspector level & above who have completed three years in a district during last four years should be transferred out of that district. Police officers of the rank of Sub Inspectors who have completed three years in a Sub Division/Assembly Constituency or are posted in their home sub division/assembly constituency shall be transferred out of that Sub Division and the Assembly Constituency.
The Commission has also instructed the State Governments not to associate any officer with the electoral process against whom charges have been framed in a court of law in any case.
(21) District Election Plan
The District Election Officers have been asked to prepare a comprehensive district election plan in consultation with SPs and Sector Officers including the route plan and communication plan for conduct of elections. These plans will be vetted by the Observers taking into account vulnerability mapping exercise and mapping of critical polling station in accordance with Election Commission of India’s extant instructions.
(22) Model Code of Conduct
The Model Code of Conduct comes into effect immediately from now onwards. All the provisions of the Model Code will apply to the whole of poll going States and will be applicable to all candidates, political parties, the State Governments of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Mizoram, Delhi and the Union Government from today itself. Attention of the political parties and candidates is particularly invited to the following provisions of the Model Code:-
“There shall be no appeal to caste or communal feelings for securing votes. Mosques, Churches, Temples or other places of worship shall not be used as forum for election propaganda.”
(23) Protection to SC/ST Electors
As per Section 3 (1) (vii) of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, whoever, not being a member of a Scheduled Caste or Scheduled Tribe, forces or intimidates a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe not to vote or to vote for a particular candidate or to vote in a manner other than that provided by law shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than six months but which may extend to five years and with fine. The Commission has asked the State Governments to bring these provisions to the notice of all concerned for prompt action.
(24) Photo Voter Slips
To facilitate the voters to know where he/she is enrolled as a voter at a particular polling station and what is his/her serial number in the Electoral roll, the Commission has directed that voter slip along with Photo (wherever present in the roll) will be distributed to all enrolled voters by the District Election Officer. It has also been directed that the said voter slip should be in the languages in which electoral roll is published for that Assembly Constituency.
(25) Complaint redressal mechanism – Call Center and Website based
All poll going States shall have a complaint redressal mechanism based on website and call center. The number of call center is 1950, which is a toll free number. The URL of the complaint registration website will be announced for each State by the respective Chief Electoral Officer separately. Complaints can be registered by making calls to the toll free call center numbers or on the web site. Action will be taken within time limit on all complaints. Complainants will also be informed of the action taken by SMS and by the call center. Complainants can also see the details of the action taken on their complaints on the website.
(26) Schedules of Election
The Commission has prepared the Schedules for holding General Elections to the Legislative Assemblies of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Mizoram and Delhi after taking into consideration all relevant aspects, like the Climatic conditions, Academic Calendars, Festivals, prevailing law and order situation in the States, availability of Central Police Forces, time needed for movement, transportation and timely deployment of forces, and assessment of other ground realities.
The Commission after considering all relevant aspects has decided to recommend to the respective Governors of the States, to issue notifications for the General Elections to the Legislative Assemblies of these states under the relevant provisions of the Representation of the People Act, 1951. The Election Schedule for general election to the Legislative Assemblies of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Mizoram, and Delhi are enclosed.