Stop use of liquor to influence voters: EC

Election Commission raises the issue of use of liquor to influence voters and has expressed dissatisfaction on the performance of Excise department.

By Author   |   Published: 19th Jan 2017   7:49 pm Updated: 19th Jan 2017   7:53 pm

Dehradun: Expressing disappointment over the steps taken by the Excise department to stop use of liquor by political parties to influence voters in Uttarakhand, the Election Commission on Thursday asked the State Government to look into movement of liquor from both legitimate and illegitimate sources and submit a report to the EC at the earliest.

One of the important issue raised before the Commission is use of liquor to influence election.

Commission has expressed dissatisfaction on performance of Excise department.

“Commission has asked Excise secretary and commissioner to further speed up enforcement action to regulate flow of liquor from legitimate sources and prevent its flow from illegitimate sources and other states,” Chief Election Commissioner Naseem Zaidi told reporters here.

Zaidi who was here on a two-day visit to the state going to the polls on February 15 held extensive consultations with officials and political parties to review preparedness for polls here said even the Chief Secretary has been asked to keep a tab on movement of liquor in the State.

The EC will review the steps taken in 3-4 days, he said.

Measures are also being taken to prevent use of cash to influence voters with air intelligence units being put up at Jollygrant airport, Sahastradhara helipad and Pantnagar airport to keep an eye on movement of unaccounted cash by air, he said.

The CEC also spoke of a standard operating procedure to check flow of money to be followed during the last 72 hours before the start of polling when movement of money and liquor is usually at its peak.

With 19 murder convicts serving their jail terms released on parole in Uttarakhand in less than a month since December, the Commmission asked the state government to review their release.

“Commission has asked the State Government to review the parole cases so that such people are not able to influence the polling process,” he said.

The media certification committee has been activated to keep an eye on paid news and ensure strict adherence to the guidelines laid down by the Press Council of India in this regard, Zaidi said.

The Commission has directed the State election machinery to address the concern of political parties and instil confidence in the electorate to exercise their franchise without fear, coercion, intimidation or inducement and provide level playing field to one and all.

Considering Uttarakhand’s vulnerability to the vagaries of weather, the Commission has directed the State Government and public works department (PWD) to be ready to deal with unprecedented heavy rains, landslides, breach of roads and snowfalls so that voters are not inconvenienced and can reach their polling stations.