See candidates distributing freebies and cash, promoting themselves through paid news or violating the poll code in any other way? There’s now an app you can use to report it.
For the first time, the State Election Commission (SEC) has created a mobile application, Citizen on Portal (COP), to help citizens report violations of the election code of conduct during their campaigns. The poll code ensures candidates do not sway voters with money, liquor and benefits, but often, citizens don’t report violations to avoid trouble. Officials said the SEC introduced the app,on which complaints will be anonymous, in an attempt to maximise voter participation.
Citizens’ groups welcomed the move. “It is a fantastic move to involve citizens in governance issues. The SEC should make sure these complaints are acted upon swiftly, or the purpose of using technology will be lost,” said Milind Mhaske, project coordinator at NGO Praja.
The SEC has also been using technology to educate the voters, especially the youth, about the election process. On Wednesday, SEC commissioner JS Saharia held a conference at Mumbai University to increase voter awareness among youth.
In the backdrop of the Centre’s demonetisation move, the SEC has also announced that a team of 15 income-tax officials (ITOs) will monitor spending by candidates contesting the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) polls. Forty ITOs will also monitor spending in the other nine municipal corporations that are going to polls next month. The increased vigilance on unaccounted cash also includes instructions to banks from the SEC to report suspicious transactions and cash withdrawals to an elections monitoring committee headed by BMC chief Ajoy Mehta.
The BMC elections are set to be held on February 21 and results will be declared on February 23. For the mega elections, the BMC will set up 7,433 polling booths across the city with 12,000 voting machines. Around 35,000 police officials and 42,000 civic officials will be on duty on voting day.