LET THE PREPARATIONS START

LET THE PREPARATIONS START

The dates for the Lok Sabha elections are out, to be held in 7 phases from April 11th to May 19, counting of votes on May 23rd.  Assembly elections will also be held simultaneously in the States of Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha and Sikkim, the Election Commission announced on 10th March, Sunday. It is notable that the present Lok Sabha ends on June 3rd. The Election Commission has come out with a Model Code of Conduct with the announcement of the poll schedule which has also come into force effective from 10th March.

The Model Code of Conduct bars the Government from announcing any policy move that may impact voters’ decision. 10 lakhs polling stations would be set up this time as against about 9 lakhs in 2014. In the Model Code of Conduct, all political advertisements on social media will need pre-certification. The Politicians along with their application, should also submit all their FACEBOOK, TWITTER, GOOGLE, YOU TUBE, social media accounts detail to verify all the political advertisements coming from various political parties. A grievance officer has been appointed to take complaints related to these advertisements on all social media platforms. Any violation will be dealt with in the strictest manner.

In continuation the CEC has said, all expenditure on campaigning advertisements on social media is to be included in the election expenditure account. The IT giants have promised to take against hate speech. Stringent monitoring of all events on election days will be done using information technology. The C-Vigil app which was launched last year by the election commission, will help citizens to confidentially report any violation of the Election Code of Conduct and any malpractices.

EC has also asked all the political parties to “desist from displaying photographs of defence personnel” against the backdrop of a picture showing a hoarding with images of Indian Air
Force Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman as well as leaders of a party. The instructions came after the photograph of a hoarding displaying pictures of IAF pilot as well as senior BJP leaders were circulated on social media and came to the EC’s notice, though the place where it was put up was not known.

They have also announced that “VOTER VERIFIABLE PAPER AUDIT TRAIL” (VVPAT) will be used in all polling stations this time around.

VVPAT: This feature was introduced to verify that the vote polled by a voter, goes to the correct candidate. This second line of verification process was introduced after allegations around Electronic Voting Machines’ tampering cropped up. The VVPAT paper roll is designed for printing 1500 ballot slips for each election. It consists of a printer, which gives the record of voters’ selection. A Display Unit, which shows any error. The Function would be, when a voter presses the button on the VVPAT machine against the chosen candidate, a printed VVPAT slip is displayed for 7 seconds, before it is automatically cut and delivered to a sealed ballot compartment. The VVPAT slip contains, A candidate’s serial number, Name, Corresponding symbol.

 

This is how the state goes to polls:

PHASE

DATE

CONSTITUENCIES

STATES

1

APRIL 11

91

20

2

APRIL 18

97

13

3

APRIL 23

115

14

4

APRIL 29

71

9

5

MAY 6

51

7

6

MAY 12

59

7

7

MAY 19

59

8

For total seats 543, the counting day being May 23rd, 2019.

The latest news being this time, CEC has said, the EVM’s to carry candidate pictures to avoid confusion over similar names. The photograph will be printed on the Electronic-Voting Machine (EVM) ballot units as well as on the postal ballot papers. For this purpose, the candidates are required to submit to the returning officer, their recent stamp size photograph as per the specifications laid down by the Commission.

Prime Minister Sri. Narendra Modi ji, hoped that the 2019 election, witnesses a historic turnout and urged all Indians to enrich the 2019 Lok Sabha elections with their active participation. He also said India is very proud of the EC for assiduously organising elections for several years, “Best wishes to the Election Commission, all those officials and security personnel who will be on the field, across the length and breadth of India, assuring smooth elections”. He further said, “we may belong to different parties, but our aim must be the same – the development of India and empowerment of every Indian”.

Prime minister Modi ji, in furtherance, made a strong pitch for the NDA and said, “In 2014, the people comprehensively rejected the UPA. There was unprecedented anger over the UPA’s corruption, nepotism and policy paralysis. India’s self-confidence was at an all-time low and the people of India wanted to rid the nation of such decay and pessimism. The last five years have shown that with the blessings and participation of 130 crore Indians, what was deemed impossible has now become possible. 2019 polls are about a spirit of confidence, positivity with which India is fulfilling the aspirations of its people”.

Urging voters to support NDA again, Prime Minister Modi ji said, “guided by SABKA SAATH, SABKA VIKAS” NDA seeks your blessings again. We spent last five years fulfilling basic necessities that were left unfulfilled for 70 long years. Now the time has come to build on that and create a strong, prosperous and secure India”.

The CEC, has come up with some more pointers towards the forthcoming elections, which are,

·         1950 is the voter helpline number to check your name and election-related information.

·         In order to curb noise pollution, usage of loud speakers is prohibited between 10pm-6am.

·         Candidates will be required to furnish details of their social media status.

·         All critical events shall be video graphed, VVPATs will be used with EVMs at all polling stations.

 

IT IS EVERYONE’S RIGHT TO EXERCISE THEIR FRANCHISE, IT IS FOR THE PEOPLE, TO THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE, LET THE POLLING DEMOCRACY PREVAIL….

 

VIJAYASHREE RAMESH, CHENNAI BASED ADVOCATE.