EC assures free and fair poll in State

By Our Reporter

SHILLONG: Assuring a free and fair election in Meghalaya, the Election Commission has said it would take all necessary steps to thwart any attempt by militant groups to disrupt the 2013 Assembly polls in the State.

“The Election Commission would take adequate steps to ensure a free and fair election,” Deputy Election Commissioner of India Alok Shukla told reporters after a close door meeting with senior State government officials here on Thursday.

He said this when his attention was drawn to GNLA chairman Champion R Sangma’s statement where he offered to support Congress in the 2013 Assembly elections.

The Congress, however, has distanced itself from the GNLA chief’s offer.

On the decision of the GNLA chairman to contest the upcoming elections, he said the matter would be decided when the person fills nomination paper.

“The law is very clear if a person is convicted of certain offenses by the court then he can be disqualified. At the same time if charges are framed by the court such a person should be disqualified from contesting the election,” Deputy Election Commissioner of India said.

Shukla also informed that the EC would put in place several mechanism like surveillance teams, video teams and flying squads during the upcoming election.

“We are going to also check the sealing of expenditures of candidates. As per the law, a MLA can spend only rupees ten lakh whereas political parties can spend any amount and there is no limit,” he said.

Shukla informed that adequate security arrangement will be made especially for Garo Hills during the election. He, however, refused to divulge the number of companies of para-military forces to be deployed in the militant-infested areas of Garo Hills.

Meanwhile, official sources informed that the Election Commission would be conducting a special training session for all Deputy Commissioners in New Delhi next week.

Home department principal secretary KS Kropha, CEO Prashant Naik and deputy commissioners of all the ten districts attended Thursday’s meeting.

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