Poll Body Seeks ‘Sustainable Elections’


CEC Rajiv Kumar emphasised the Commission’s sensitivity towards environmentally conscious elections, highlighting efforts to reduce single-use plastics and endorse eco-friendly practices…reports Asian Lite News

The Election Commission’s directives for sustainable elections encompass avoiding single-use plastics, minimizing paper usage, adopting eco-friendly transportation, and promoting carpooling.

Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar emphasised the Commission’s sensitivity towards environmentally conscious elections, highlighting efforts to reduce single-use plastics and endorse eco-friendly practices.

Instructions include eliminating single-use plastics, implementing proper waste management with separate bins and signage, partnering with local recycling facilities, minimizing paper usage, promoting double-sided printing, and encouraging electronic communication.

Additionally, officials and political parties are urged to decrease carbon emissions by endorsing carpooling, public transport, renewable energy usage, and consolidating polling locations.

The upcoming Lok Sabha polls, spanning seven phases beginning on April 19, aimed to underscore the Commission’s commitment to sustainability.

Previous initiatives, such as urging against plastic usage in campaigning materials and promoting alternatives like compostable plastics and recycled paper, further demonstrate the Commission’s environmental consciousness.

Notable global examples, like Sri Lanka’s carbon-sensitive campaign and Estonia’s digital voting system, serve as inspirations for eco-friendly election practices.

In India, Kerala and Goa’s endeavours towards green elections, including bans on non-biodegradable materials and the utilization of eco-friendly booths, illustrate ongoing efforts towards sustainable electoral processes.

‘Know Your Candidate’

Before announcing the dates for the upcoming Lok Sabha elections at a crowded press conference in the national capital, Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar on Saturday said the poll watcdog has launched a new mobile application called Know Your Candidate (KYC) that will enable voters to find out if any electoral candidate in their constituency has criminal antecedents.

The application has been made available for download on both the Android and iOS platforms, the chief election commissioner informed.

Expanding on the new mobile application, the poll panel chief said, “We have come up with a new mobile application that will enable voters to find out if a candidate, who is bidding to represent them in the Lok Sabha, has a criminal background. The application is called ‘Know Your Candidate’ or ‘KYC’.”

At the press conference, the Commission declared that the Lok Sabha elections will be held across seven phases, while assembly elections to four states–Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Arunachal and Sikkim–will also be held simultaneously in separate single phases.

Sharing further details on the KYC app, the CEC noted that voters have the right to know about the criminal records, if any, of candidates from their constituencies, as well as their assets and liabilities.

“The voters can also now check for themselves the assets and liabilities that candidates with criminal antecedents hold. All relevant information in this regard will be made available on this application,” Kumar said.

He added that the parties fielding such candidates will also have to explain the rationale behind the decision, while the nominees with a criminal past, themselves, would also be required to bring all information in the public domain.

“Candidates with a criminal record are required to publish or make public this information in newspapers on television thrice,” the poll panel chief added.

“The parties giving tickets to such tainted candidates have to explain why they chose them over other, more deserving, claimants. They have to clearly state the basis of selection of a candidate with a criminal background,” Kumar said.

The Know your Candidate (KYC) app is available on both the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store, the Election Commission posted on its website while also sharing the QR code to download the app.

Assembly elections in Andhra Pradesh will be held on May 13 while Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim will poll in a single phase on April 19.

Bypolls for 26 Assembly seats will also be held along with the Lok Sabha polls. (with inputs from agenies)

250 Companies in Phase 1 of Polls Bengal

Starting with deployment of 250 companies of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) in the first phase of the seven-phase Lok Sabha elections in West Bengal, the deployment will be progressively increased in subsequent phases, insiders in the office of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), West Bengal said.

“While 250 companies will be deployed for polls in just three Lok Sabha constituencies in north Bengal in the first phase on April 19, the deployment will gradually be increased in the subsequent phases with the maximum deployment being on the on the seventh and last phase on June 1, where a total of nine constituencies in south Bengal will be going for the polls,” said a senior official from the office of CEO, West Bengal who did not wish to be named.

He said that although, right now it cannot be said about the exact deployment in the seventh phase, it is possible that it will be of over 900 companies. Election Commission of India has already proposed a deployment of 920 companies of CAPF in West Bengal for the polls — the highest among all Indian states.

According to West Bengal CEO Ariz Aftab, the phase-wise deployment is being determined through “vulnerability mapping” of each polling station in each constituency, on the basis of past polling records in all these stations.

The fact that 250 companies of CAPF will be deployed in the first phase on April 19 for just three constituencies of Cooch Behar, Alipurduar and Jalpaiguri in north Bengal, shows how determined the Commission is to ensure free and fair polls.

“Barring a couple of pockets under Cooch Behar, especially Sitalkuchi, the other pockets in these three constituencies have past records of overall peaceful polls. Still, 250 companies are deployed in the first phase to give a message that no foul play on the polling date will be tolerated,” a senior official from the CEO office said.

Likewise, the number of “highly sensitive pockets” are far more on the seventh phase on June 1 when the nine constituencies in south Bengal, namely Kolkata (South), Kolkata (North), Jadavpur, Jaynagar, Basirhat, Barasat, Mathurapur, Diamond Harbour and Dum Dum, will vote.

The “highly sensitive” pockets in these constituencies, as per past records, include Sandeshkhali under Basirhat, Bhangar under Jadavpur, Magrahat Paschim under Mathurapur, Basanti, Canning Purba, Canning Paschim and Magrahat Purba under Jaynagar and Metizburuz under Diamond Harbour, among others.

The deployment of CAPF will be maximum in this phase.

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