Chief Election Commissioner of India Rajiv Kumar said a number of apps would be made available to empower voters, and district-level cells would be set up to tackle the spread of fake news on social media.
He was speaking at a press conference in Raipur on Saturday following a three-day visit to the state by ECI officials.
Kumar said, “The term of the Assembly ends on January 3, 2024, and hence we need a new Assembly before that date. The SSR (special summary revision) date has been extended till September 11 and the final electoral roll will be published on October 4.”
This year, there are 443,000 new eligible voters aged between 18 and 19 years, he said.
Kumar said, “After an amendment last year, those youngsters who turn 18 in October this year have been made eligible to vote. This amendment helped us add 60,000 voters, taking the total count of new voters to 4.43 million.”
The ECI will conduct field visits to ensure that people’s names are not unnecessarily added or deleted from the voters’ list.
“In any constituency, if deletion is more than two per cent, then the official concerned will check himself. Election officials and district magistrates are given detailed guidelines on this. Deletion will be done only when Form 7 is received. No contractual employees will be used in the election process,” he said.
Kumar said 900 polling booths would be run completely by women.
“After nomination, within five days, form 12D has to be filled by voters above 80 and then our team will go to their house to take their votes. The same procedure will be followed for disabled persons with 40 per cent disability,” Kumar said.
EC has come up with four apps, including the “Know Your Candidate (KYC)” app, in which voters can get information related to the election affidavits of candidates in their constituency.
“If any candidate has a criminal record, then they have to publish it three times in a newspaper or channel,” Kumar said.
The second app, “cVIGIL”, will allow people to report any illegal activity related to the election, such as the distribution of cash, liquor, drugs, or freebies for votes.
“The person reporting can be anonymous. We will use the location from where the image or information is sent, and reach the spot within 100 minutes to take action,” Kumar said.
The third app, “Suvidha”, allows candidates to file nominations/affidavits and seek permissions for meetings and rallies.
A “voter helpline” app will also be in place to help voters with information such as whether their names are on the list, their polling booth, the officials in charge, and others.
Cells are being created at district levels by district magistrates and superintendents of police to deal with fake news on social media, he added.
“If it is totally fake, then those who spread it shall face legal action,” the Election Commissioner said.
Meanwhile, during a “sankalp shivir” in Baloda Bazar in Chhattisgarh, Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel said Congress workers should be ready for raids by the Enforcement Directorate (ED).
“Only the houses of Congressmen will be raided. The workers in Patan are getting calls from ED. Always be ready because this time, the fight is not just against the BJP, it is also against the ED.”