The Election Commission of India (EC) has a strategy in place to tackle the flow of liquor and drugs during the Punjab polls. Chief election commissioner Nasim Zaidi said on Tuesday that he had issued instructions to the police authorities to prepare a robust strategy by November 15 to check the drug menace.
He was talking to the media on the concluding day of his three-day visit to Chandigarh on Tuesday to take stock of the situation ahead of Punjab polls.
Over the past two days, different political parties had raised apprehensions of distribution of drugs and liquor during the polls.
Talking to the media, he said the chief secretary and the director general of police had been instructed to ensure that poll machinery worked in an unbiased manner and deal strictly with officers not acting in a neutral manner.
On election date, the chief election commissioner said, “It’s going to be on schedule, not before that.”
He said civil and police administration in Punjab needed a major overhaul.
He also issued instruction to the police administration to arrest proclaimed offenders and parole jumpers before the imposition of model code of conduct.
“We have data of police officers up to the police station level who are influenced by the local politicians. Will take action at the right time,” he said.
‘E-ballots for defence personnel’
Zaidi said the EC will make arrangements for postal electronic ballot for the defence personnel who are registered as voters in Punjab. He said defence ministry has cleared the proposal and a notification will be issued soon. He said about 1.09-lakh voters from Punjab were in the defence services and efforts were on to update the figure.
Zaidi said a law is in place to examine manifestoes of the political parties and in case a promise looks impractical, the EC can ask the party to change it.
80% voting target
The EC has set 80% voting target in the ensuing polls. “People in Punjab are educated and prosperous and I have asked the poll officers here to launch systematic voters education and electoral participation (SVEEP) campaign.
Voter-verified paper audit trial
The EC is launching the system of voter-verified paper audit trial (VVPAT) in the 2017 polls for the first time in the country. With this system, a voter can verify that the vote is correctly cast. The VVPAT machine gives the voter a printed receipt of name of the candidate and party the vote was casted for. It will be launched as a pilot project in select polling stations.
Physically challenged-friendly polls
All polling booths to have ramps to suit the physically challenged. Also, polling stations will be set up at homes for lepers and visually challenged.