Chief Election Commissioner Dr Nasim Zaidi today announced the schedule of upcoming Assembly elections in five states — Goa, Uttarakhand, Manipur, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh. The elections would be held simultaneously in all states starting from February 4 in Goa and Punjab. The Assembly elections are expected to reflect the impact of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s demonetisation decision and the Union government’s fight against black money. Addressing reporters in New Delhi today, the CEC noted that the use of black money would be less in the elections this year as compared to previous polls.
Here are some of the new and interesting announcements made by the CEC today.
1. All elections will be held simultaneously.
2. Candidates will have to open bank accounts. All expenses above Rs 20,000 will have to be made through the bank accounts and through cheques only. CEC Zaidi said that the Election Commission would strictly monitor election expenses by candidates to curb Black money.
3. Kiosks/bastas set up by candidates will be deemed to be set up by candidates. The expenses incurred for setting up kiosks would have to be included in the election expenditure by candidates.
3. Candidates would not be allowed to loudspeakers after 10 pm. The Commission has asked police and electoral officers to ensure clampdown on those violating the direction. The Commission has discouraged candidates from using environmentally hazardous material during Assembly Elections campaigns.
4. Expense limit: Candidates can spend up to Rs Rs 28 lakh in UP, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Rs 20 lakh in Manipur and Goa.
5. Disabled friendly: The Commission said that station-wise mapping of Persons with Disabilities is being done and Assembly Elections will be Persons with Disabilities-friendly.
6. Women-friendly polls: The Commission would also set up all women-managed polling stations. However, the number of such polling stations have not yet been declared yet.
7. Photo electoral rolls: Zaidi said that nearly 100% voters would have Electoral photo ID cards. Photo Electoral Rolls will be used during these General Elections and photo percentages in Photo Electoral Rolls of these five States is 100%.
8. The commission has increased the height of voting compartments by 30 inches for secrecy.
(With agency inputs)