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EC to set up ‘core committee’ to identify shortcomings during recently-held assembly polls

PTI, May 13, 2021, 8:40 PM IST

New Delhi: The Election Commission has decided to set up a panel to identify the experiences and shortcomings during the recently-held five assembly polls.

Elections were held in West Bengal, Assam, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry. The ‘core committee’ has been tasked to identify shortcomings in the Election Commission’s regulatory regime, and the gaps in implementation and enforcement at the level of state chief electoral officers and district officials.

According to a statement issued on Thursday, the committee will also look into the need to strengthen the legal and regulatory framework to allow the commission to more effectively ensure compliance of guidelines and directions, including COVID-19 norms.

The Election Commission (EC) had faced allegations that it failed to implement COVID-19 norms during campaigning. Rejecting the allegations, the commission had maintained that it used its constitutional powers to check the spread of COVID-19 by reducing campaigning period and noted that enforcing provisions of the disaster management law was the responsibility of state disaster management authorities (SDMAs).

Provisions of the law are in place across India to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The ‘core committee’ will also look into measures to further strengthen the expenditure management regulation for inducement free election.

The shortcomings in the existing framework in providing protection to the electoral machinery from possibility of reprisal after elections is one of the mandates of the panel.

Recently, the Nandigram returning officer in West Bengal was provided security in person and at his home on the directions of the EC, amid reports that he was under pressure while performing his duty.

Trinamool Congress chief Mamata Banerjee had lost assembly polls from the seat.

Recommendations of the ‘core committee’ will help the EC to chalk out a way forward for forthcoming polls, the statement said. The ‘core committee’, to be headed by EC Secretary General Umesh Sinha, has been asked to submit its report within a month.

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