Mandate videography, webcasting at polling stations: BJP to Election Commission | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Mandate videography, webcasting at polling stations: BJP to Election Commission

Feb 28, 2024 05:41 PM IST

Also set up polling stations in urban housing societies before announcing the general elections, BJP to EC

New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has written to the Election Commission of India (EC), asking it to cover all polling stations with videography and webcasting, and to set up polling stations in urban housing societies before announcing the general elections.

The Election Commission of India. (File photo)
The Election Commission of India. (File photo)

The ruling party has also asked the Commission to ensure that the media control and monitoring committees (MCMC) do not cause delays in approving advertisements by political parties.

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“Instead of (the) current practice of coverage of around 50% of polling stations for videography and webcasting, we request that this coverage be increased to 100% of polling stations across all states,” the letter sent by Health minister Mansukh Mandaviya, IT minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, Rajya Sabha MP Arun Singh, and BJP leader Om Pathak, said.

The BJP has also asked the poll body to consider implementing “two step identification” of all voters before they are permitted to enter the voting booth to stem the problem of rigging at polling stations. “Fool proof record of such two-step identification must be available to the Commission and political parties for assured fair poll,” the letter said.

Also Read: ECI joins hands with banks, post offices for electoral awareness ahead of LS polls

In January, the EC had ordered the cancellation of a tender issued by the National informatics Centre Services Incorporated (NICSI), which sought surveillance equipment to monitor voters during elections. The EC had ordered the cancellation after concerns were raised about citizens’ privacy and the potential use of voter data by the Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF), and had said, “The Commission shall not allow invasion of citizens’ privacy in any manner during Elections,” the EC spokesperson had tweeted on January 19.

“The extensive deployment of video surveillance equipment will hurt individual fundamental rights, notably the right to privacy and dignity. Citizens have a legitimate expectation that their voting activities remain confidential and free from unwarranted scrutiny,” the IFF’s letter to EC had said.

Polling stations in urban housing societies required

The BJP has asked the EC to direct the chief electoral officers (CEOs) and deputy election officers (DEOs) to call special meetings of political parties to inform them of setting up new polling stations so that “the residents in high rise and group housing societies are informed and assured accordingly” and voter turnout improves.

The BJP pointed out that in its communication dated September 25, 2023, the EC had directed the CEOs to conduct “extensive survey” to “identify those urban areas where group housing societies and high-rise residential buildings have adequate rooms such as common facilitation areas/community halls/schools available at ground floor within their premises, for the purpose of setting up a polling station to cater to the resident electors”.

MCMCs should cut down on unwarranted delays in giving media approvals

The BJP alleged that the functioning of MCMCs has been “erratic and whimsical and sometimes even influenced by extraneous considerations”. “We have cases of wrongful and illogical rejection of media creatives and unwarranted delays,” the BJP said in its letter. The party reminded EC of a 10-day delay in approving “legitimate requests” of the BJP by the MCMC in Delhi.

The BJP wants the EC to “improve or revise” its instructions to MCMCs so that there are no delays in giving media approvals. “The campaign times being very short, these delays can jeopardise election campaigns,” the BJP said in its letter.

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