GUWAHATI, April 2 - Strict implementation of the model code of conduct issued by the Election Commission and the election manual given to the officers engaged in the election process should be ensured in the interest of holding free and fair polls, said former Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) HS Brahma.
Talking to The Assam Tribune, Brahma said that all the election officers of the State including the Chief Electoral Officer, Returning Officers of each constituency and the ground level officers engaged in the poll process have key roles to play to ensure free and fair elections, while, the police and security forces must carry out their assigned tasks to maintain law and order.
Brahma said that it is the duty of all the officers engaged in the poll process to work in an impartial manner. If any officer is found to be behaving in a partisan manner, any Indian citizen can file a complaint against him or her. He said that complaints can be filed before the Returning Officers or the Chief Electoral Officer of the state. But there is also a provision to file complaint directly before the Election Commission, which has a complaint cell. He said that if anyone feels that the complaints were not addressed properly by the concerned Returning Officer or the Chief Electoral Officer, he or she can file complaint directly before the Election Commission. As provisions are also made for online filing of complaints, it is now easy for anyone to do so if required, he added.
The former CEC said that the expenditure observers have a key role in preventing use of money power in the elections and hoped that the observers appointed for the purpose would carry out their assigned task properly. �Use of muscle power in the elections in Assam is not a major problem as of now. But we have been reading reports of use of muscle power in some parts and the officers concerned should work impartially and deal with such issues strictly. There were also instances of distribution of money or liquor in polls in the State and these issues should be dealt with strongly by the officers concerned,� he added.
Brahma lamented that in recent times, there have been instances of personal attacks on candidates during the poll campaigns and expressed the view that such incidents create bad blood among the political parties and supporters. He expressed the view that the campaigns should be confined to policies , successes and failures of the political parties and candidates and everyone should desist from launching personal attacks against anyone. The Returning Officers should also play their part in ensuring that no one is allowed to launch personal attacks against each other, he added.