Lok Sabha elections 2019: Teams to check growing use of cash during polls: CEO
Checking growing flow of cash during elections in a big challenge for the Election Commission, more so in a backward state like Bihar where confiscated amount more than doubled within a span of a year in two different elections in since 2014.
While an amount of Rs 6-crore was seized during the 2014 Lok Sabha elections in the state, it shot up to over Rs 14-crore in the 2015 assembly polls in 2015, which also included foreign currency comprising mostly Nepalese currency used in the bordering districts. A large quantity of fake currency notes were also recovered during searches.
This much amount getting confiscated in a poor state like Bihar, though it still remains low compared to some of the southern states, says a lot about the growing influence money has on elections with the sole purpose of luring voters.
Bihar’s chief electoral officer (CEO) HR Srinivasan said that he had held a detailed meeting with income tax director, various central and state agencies, nodal officers as well as district magistrates and SPs a few days ago to monitor expenditure and increase surveillance for cash movement.
“There will be three flying squads in each assembly constituency, besides static surveillance teams, video teams and sector officers, who will be exclusively deployed to keep watch on flow of black money and poll expenditure. There will greater surveillance in the bordering districts,” he added.
The CEO said that though electioneering was yet to pick up, in Bihar over 150 complaints had already been received through EC’s cVigil app, which can be downloaded by a citizen to send video clips and pictures of illegal cash distribution or movement.
“The confidentiality of the informant is fully maintained and action will follow within 100 minutes. As electioneering picks up momentum, more complaints will start trickling in. It proved very successful in the five states that went to polls last year. In Bihar, however, the degree of cash use in polls is still low compared to some other states,” he added.
Several leaders were booked following seizures in Nalanda, Kishanganj, Gopalganj, Begusarai, Patna, Vaishali and various other constituencies of the state during 2014 and 2015 polls.