As a run-up to the forthcoming Elections to the Lok Sabha and Legislative Assemblies to four States, the Election Commission of India today organized the 1st Briefing for Observers to be deployed in the Poll going States. Over 1800 senior officers drawn from IAS, IPS officers as also from Indian Revenue Service and few other Central Services attended the briefing meeting. These officers are being deployed as General, Police and Expenditure Observers.

Reminding the Observers of their crucial role, the Chief Election Commissioner  Sunil Arora pointed out that the officers need to be earnest and have no choice but to ensure that no mistakes are committed. Sh Arora recalled that in the recent State elections held, it took all of the minuscule percentages of instances of slippages in following the laid down protocol for EVM-VVPAT procedures or missing out of few names from Electoral Roll or delay in Counting of votes, rendering all other good work done in the background. He reminded the officers that ECI, set up as a unique institution since 1950 to function as the very bedrock of democratic process, associates officers from varied fields to help conduct the elections as per well-defined duties. CEC emphasised that while discharging the onerous duties as Observers while officers observe the electoral process, the ECI observes these officers ensure that they sincerely discharge the assigned duties.  Arora noted that with changing times, concerns about abuse of money power and also social media are posing newer challenges. He said the endeavor of ECI is not only to conduct free and fair elections but also transparent, clean and ethical elections.

Election Commissioner  Ashok Lavasa reminded the group that as Observers, they need to ensure implementation of all instructions of the ECI in letter and spirit.  Lavasa mentioned that the recently launched CVigil App has helped empower every citizen also to help the Commission keep a vigilant eye out for Model Code violations. But the availability of this App has itself put more responsibility on officers managing and overseeing the electoral system. He reiterated that the Observers need to be accessible and available to all stakeholders on the ground as the officers are literally the extended arms of ECI in the field.

Addressing the officers, Election Commissioner Sh Sushil Chandra drew the attention of the Officers that as Observers their role is to be eyes and ears of the Commission in keeping a watchful eye and to take all preventive measures to ensure free and fair elections. He pointed out that the role of Expenditure Observers becomes crucial when methods of inducements to voters are becoming very innovative too.

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