New Delhi: The Election Commission of India held a virtual meeting with political parties and poll officials from Manipur on Wednesday January 5 and said that for the first time, the option of postal ballot would be provided during the upcoming Assembly elections to 80+ citizens, persons with disabilities and Covid suspects or affected persons.
“The postal ballot facility is an optional facility and ensures total secrecy of voting. Representatives of candidates will be present during the process and the total procedure will be videographed. In the State, 14,565 persons with disabilities and over 41,867 80+ citizens have been mapped,” the poll panel said.
The term of the 60-member Manipur Assembly is due to expire on March 19, 2022.
The main issues raised by the political parties at the meeting included concerns about use of money power, illicit liquor, narcotics and intimidation to influence voters.
The political parties requested for strict vigil on election expenses by the candidates to ensure free and fair polling. While expressing concerns about pre-poll violence, the political parties demanded deployment of adequate security forces during the poll process along with other relevant measures.
The parties also raised concerns about the implementation of strict Covid protocols for everyone’s safety.
The Commission assured the representatives that it has taken cognizance of the suggestions, and it is committed to conduct free, fair, participative, inclusive, inducement-free and Covid safe elections in the state.
During the review meeting, the Commission also emphasised on conducting the elections with 100 per cent vaccinated polling staff, proper sanitisation and social distancing at the polling stations.