Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra on Thursday told chief electoral officers of states the conduct of assembly polls in five states amid the coronavirus pandemic was exemplary and that extraordinary circumstances demanded extraordinary solutions — from banning physical rallies to promoting digital campaigning. Election Commissioner and CEC-designate Rajiv Kumar said with the mandate provided by the Constitution, the EC has developed extremely robust internal mechanisms and practices to ensure that elections are conducted in a free, fair, accessible and participative manner.
Kumar was on Thursday appointed as the next CEC and would assume his new charge on May 15. CEC Chandra demits office on May 14. The Election Commission on Thursday organised a conference of chief electoral officers of all states and union territories here.
The two-day conference is aimed at sharing experiences and learnings from the recent assembly elections in five states. Chandra stressed on the need to continuously upgrade services for voters — right from registration in electoral roll to voting. Elaborating, he said that CEOs are the face of the Election Commission in the states and should ensure that they are accessible and visible to all stakeholders.
During his address, Kumar said that while technology has been leveraged in a big way to enhance the accessibility and transparency of the election system, the EC has streamlined the entire IT infrastructure with focus on three critical stakeholders — voters, political parties and election management functionaries. He urged CEOs to strengthen their IT systems, including training of the IT personnel for adapting to the latest advancements.
Election Commissioner Anup Chandra Pandey, in his address, highlighted the agenda for CEOs for the next few months, including arranging logistics in states for upcoming elections for the office of President of India. He said that CEOs should utilise this lean period to strengthen and upgrade the fundamental features of the election system, including updating electoral rolls, infrastructure upgrade at polling stations, EVM-VVPAT storage and maintenance and training and capacity building of officials.