Jharkhand Polls in five phases after Home Ministry Report: CEC Sunil Arora

Ranchi: Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora on Thursday said that the five-phase polls in Jharkhand have been scheduled based on the Home Ministry’s report and officials’ feedback.

“The Home Ministry this year in February 5 report says that the 19 of the 24 districts of Jharkhand are Left Wing Maoist-affected. The home ministry released Rs 775 crore for Maoist-affected districts of the country and RS 340 crore was released for Jharkhand,” said Arora at a press conference.

When asked about the central government statement in Parliament, Maoist activities have declined by 45 per cent in Jharkhand, he said, “We go by written documents which is in public domain and feedback of the officials. The officials’ feedback was that the Maoists could use new tactics and new ways to obstruct polls. Same was the feedback in Chhattisgarh but the polling was more than 70 per cent.”

When asked about Union Minister of Forests and Environment Prakash Javadekar announcing withdrawal of the draft of the amendment of the Forest Act to remove any misgivings about taking away the rights of the tribals and forest dwellers, he said “We have sought a report on this issue”.

The CEC said that the VVPAT will be used at all the 29,464 polling booths in the election. The Election Commission has made arrangements for postal ballots in six districts for differently-abled and voters aged over 80. The EC has also appointed special observers for poll expenditures.

Asked about some parties’ concern over NGO funding, he said “The officials have been asked to take the issue on a case by case basis.”

On foreign funding in polls he said “The foreign funding is done under FCRA and there is a law to regulate it.”

Jharkhand Assembly elections: EC team reviews poll preparedness in Ranchi

Ranchi: The Election Commission team led by its chief Sunil Arora on Thursday reviewed poll preparations in Ranchi with the Chief Secretary, the Director-General of Police and other enforcement agencies of the state.

On Wednesday, the poll body team held a series of meetings with various political party leaders and civil administration. “We held a meeting with the political parties because they are the biggest stakeholders after voters. We have also met the state officials such as DG, IG, DM and also some regulatory agencies such as Income Tax, Railways, Postal department,” Arora said.

Talking about the preparation done by the poll body for the upcoming state assembly elections, the chief electoral officer said that special attention has been given for making arrangements for the disabled voters.

“For disabled voters, we have made special arrangements for this category. It was one of our priorities. Some of the leaders also suggested that NGOs should be roped in to create awareness among the disabled about the importance of voting. This time we have appointed Divisional commissioners to contact with the disabled,” he added.

He also talked about the preparations to combat the menace of Naxalism during the election period, saying, “Jharkhand has received special help from the Centre for the same. There was a report that out of 16 districts of Jharkhand, 13 are affected by Left Wing. The state has got as much as Rs 340 crores for the same.”

In his concluding remarks, he stated that the noose has been tightened around the use of money power during electioneering and “investigation will be carried out against those found guilty.”

Jharkhand will go to polls in five phases. The first phase of polling will be held on November 30, the second phase on December 6, the third phase on December 12, the fourth phase on December 16 and the last phase on December 20. The results will be declared on December 23.

The Congress has forged an alliance with the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) and the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) in the state to defeat the incumbent BJP.

In 2014, the BJP, which won 43 seats, formed the government along with All Jharkhand Students’ Union (AJSU), which had won 5 seats under the leadership of Raghubar Das.