Election Commission warns against ‘undue influence’ in postal ballot voting

Published on Feb 22, 2022 05:45 PM IST

‘Strict action’ will be initiated against any attempts to violate the provisions of the Representations of People’s Act, the additional chief electoral officer said in a statement.

Bribery and undue influence is a form of corrupt practices which is a punishable offence in addition to other penalties, the Election Commission said. (File/AP Photo)
Bribery and undue influence is a form of corrupt practices which is a punishable offence in addition to other penalties, the Election Commission said. (File/AP Photo)
ByGerard de Souza

PANAJI: The Election Commission of India (ECI) on Tuesday warned “political functionaries” against trying to approach those who will be voting via postal ballot with offers or threats, that “strict action” will be initiated against any attempts to violate the provisions of the Representations of People’s Act.

“Some political functionaries are trying to approach voters on election duty and trying to exert undue influence on them to vote in their favour. Strict action will be taken against the violators if, at any point in time, any person is found influencing and/or intimidating any voter. Similarly, if any voter demands any gratification for voting through a postal ballot, strict action under the law and departmental action will be initiated,” the additional chief electoral officer said in a statement.

“Bribery and undue influence is a form of corrupt practices within the purview of sections 123 (1) and (2) of the Representation of the People Act, 1951, read with sections 171 B and 171 C of the Indian Penal Code 1860 which is a punishable offence in addition to other penalties,” the Commission warned.

Earlier, the Congress party in Goa alleged that certain ministers are threatening and intimidating government servants, who have opted for postal ballots, to cast vote in their presence. A complaint lodged by the Congress alleged that the ruling party was using the police force to ensure that postal ballots are in their favour.

In their complaint with the Election Commission of India, the Congress alleged that the “state government machinery and candidates of the ruling party have indulged in illegal acts of threatening and intimidating the voters” who are supposed to cast their votes through postal ballots.

“The government officials are being coerced to cast their votes in a particular manner in the favour of the ruling parties’ candidates,” state Congress president Girish Chodankar alleged.

“Ballot votes play a vital role in constituencies where close fights take place. Hence, the BJP is trying to identify these voters and bring them to their side,” he alleged.

Chodankar also said he had recordings of conversations in which certain members of the BJP were heard coercing government officials to cast postal ballots in their favour.

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