Chief electoral officer (CEO), Manipur, Rajesh Agrawal informed that the Election Commission of India team will visit Manipur on February 7 to review the poll preparedness for the ensuing election to the 12th Manipur Legislative Assembly.

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The CEO was briefing the media during a press conference held at his office in Lamphelpat, Imphal on February 3.

Rajesh Agrawal continued that the Election Commission will hold meeting with chief secretary, director general of police, chief electoral officer, state police nodal officer, DG Assam Rifles, recognized national/state political parties, district election officers, superintendents of police and enforcement agencies.

He further stated that election notifications for first phase had been issued by all returning officers on February 1 while the notifications for second phase will be issued on February 4.

In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of persons to accompany a candidate for filing nomination is restricted to two and the number of vehicles is also restricted to two.  He added that candidates shall open separate bank accounts for incurring expenditure in the current general elections.

Stating on the publication of criminal antecedents, the CEO stated that so far Bharatiya Janata Party had published Format C-7 for 13 candidates having criminal antecedents while Indian National Congress had published the same for 11 candidates. He also reiterated political parties should publish Format C-7 for selecting candidates having criminal antecedents within 48 hours of selection of candidates and compliance in Format C-8 should also be furnished to ECI/CEO within 72 hours of selection of such candidates.

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Further, candidates having criminal antecedents should also publish declaration in Format C-1 and report compliance to RO immediately in three occasions (from the last date of withdrawal of candidature till 2 days before poll) – in national newspapers, local newspapers, TV channels as specified/identified by CEO. Political parties should also publish in Format C-4 and report compliance to CEO in three occasions – in local newspaper, TV channel as specified by CEO.

Candidates should also file revised abstract statement of election expenses and the same has been circulated to all ROs and all political parties.

He further informed that an Android-based mobile app called Voter Facilitator App had been developed by IT Cell of CEO, Manipur. The app will have three important features including information on average queue waiting time, wheelchair service booking facility and postal ballot opting service facility using his/her mobile conveniently from the comfort of his/her home by normal voters, 80+ voters and PwD category voters.

Rajesh Agrawal also mentioned that permission for meeting, door to door campaigning should be obtained from district election officers in advance.

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