Chennai, Mar 31 (PTI): The Election Commission today said prompt action would be taken against political parties or candidates who try to influence voters for the April 12 R K Nagar Assembly bypoll by offering cash or gifts.
Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha, who is here to review steps taken for smooth conduct of the poll, said they have received complaints that cash or gifts are being given to induce voters.
Informing that the Election Commission has set a 24 hour time limit for redressal of such complaints, he said, “All grievances will be addressed promptly.”
“The Election Commission is of the view that we should stop any inducement activity by any political party or by any candidate,” Sinha said and sought the support of all “stakeholders” on this issue.
Asserting that the electorate play the most important role, he said, “They have to understand the importance of voting without being influenced.”
Sinha said officials from Income Tax department, Enforcement Department and surveillance teams will monitor vital junctions like airports, railway stations and bus stands to check if large amounts of money are being transferred.
“We are also taking the Commercial Tax department on board to check distribution of liquor in large quantities. We also warned traders not to indulge in such activities. All liquor shops will be closely monitored,” he said.
Sinha said the EC-nominated observers are closely monitoring activities of political parties and candidates in the R K Nagar Assembly bypoll. The poll panel has nominated senior IAS officers and enforcement teams to supervise the situation especially at evenings and nights.
Sufficient Central Police forces would be deployed at all polling stations to ensure that no one can influence or intimidate anybody, he said, adding there would be static surveillance teams and cameras have been installed at vital areas in the constituency.
Sinha said to ensure transparency, there would be full web casting at polling stations, Sinha said.
“Tamil Nadu has a very good tradition of not having any violence during elections,” he said, adding EC officials will undertake door to door campaign in areas identified as sensitive to build confidence among the electorate there.
Strict action would be taken against those who threaten any voter, Sinha said.
Commenting on the large number of candidates in the fray, he said the EC would keep an eye on “dummy candidates” and if they are found campaigning for some other candidate or party, strict action will be taken against them.
A total of 62 candidates are in the fray in the bypoll which was necessitated following the demise of former Chief Minister and AIADMK supremo J Jayalalithaa in December last year.
This is published unedited from the PTI feed.