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Rigging concern for poll panel

- EC to introduce paper audit for voters

Patna, April 5: The Election Commission (EC) today said there would be cent per cent deployment of central paramilitary forces at booths in the state to ensure free and fair polls in its commitment to wipe out silent rigging.

“A few political parties have expressed their apprehensions regarding silent rigging of polls in certain diara (riverine) areas. We have provided adequate forces to the state. There would be cent per cent deployment of central paramilitary forces at polling stations,” election commissioner H.S. Brahma said.

Brahma, election commissioner Nasim Zaidi and deputy election commissioner Alok Shukla were talking to mediapersons after reviewing poll preparations for the general election starting April 10. The state’s chief electoral officer Ajay V. Naik and additional chief electoral officer, R. Laxmanan also accompanied the three-member EC team that arrived in Patna yesterday for a two-day review meet.

Yesterday, the commission held parleys with eight political parties. Today, it had organised review meetings with district magistrates, superintendents of police, inspectors-general of police, besides meeting the chief secretary and the director-general of police. On the BJP’s plea of transfer of two district magistrates-cum-district electoral officers of Purnea and Supaul, Brahma said: “We discussed it with the chief electoral officer and the chief secretary. If we find the allegations to be true, the officials would be transferred. The decision, if any, would be taken within 48 hours.”

The commission, which sought the media’s co-operation to take quick and corrective measures for smooth conduct of polls, said it has taken steps to check the case of voter intimidation. The panel has identified 17,000 vulnerable hamlets and 56,000 intimidators so far to check such incidents, the commissioner said.

The commission would also introduce a voter verified paper audit trail in Patna Sahib constituency. Under the system, electronic voting machines will be linked with a gadget that would generate a slip confirming the symbol and candidate voted for. Under the mechanism, the name of the candidate and symbol would be displayed for seven seconds and the slips would go inside the machine.