‘Criminal antecedents, details of candidates should be published on media’

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Imphal: In view of the ensuing current general election to the Legislative Assembly of Manipur joint chief electoral officer (CEO), Ramananda Nongmeikapam briefed the press on importance of publication of criminal antecedents and postal ballot at a press briefing held on Saturday at the conference hall of the office of the chief electoral officer, Lamphelpat.

The joint CEO stressing on the importance of the publication of criminal antecedents said the details of the candidate shall be published in one of the local vernacular newspaper and one national newspaper shortlisted by the CEO, Manipur, within 48 hours of the selection of the candidate or not less than two weeks before the first date for filing of nominations, whichever is earlier.

It should also be uploaded on the official social media platforms of the political party, including Facebook and Twitter, he added.

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Ramananda, on publication of the criminal antecedents, said it should include detailed information regarding individuals (candidate) with pending criminal cases including nature of the offences and relevant particulars as to whether charges have been framed, concerned Court, case number and other relevant information. Clarity should be given regarding the selected candidate, the reasons for such selection, and also as to why other individuals without criminal antecedents could not be selected as candidates. It should also mention the reasons as to how selections are made not merely on ‘winnability’ at the polls but also with reference to the qualifications, achievements and merit of the candidate concerned.

The political party concerned should also submit a report of compliance with these directions to the election commission within 72 hours of the selection of the said candidate, he added.

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He informed that till date, 929 postal ballot forms have been received out of 33376 postal ballot forms issued. Out of the total forms issued, 23,393 forms had been issued to 80 years and above aged electors in which 807 have been submitted. A total of 122 forms have been received out of 6988 PB forms issued to people with disabilities. So far, 1140 Covid affected persons and 1855 persons employed in essential services had applied for the postal ballot forms.

Ramananda said the postal ballot is an option facilitated by the Election Commission of India for exercising the franchise for the PWDs and 80 plus elders and is not mandatory. If they wish to cast their vote, they can come out on the poll day and cast their votes physically at their respective polling stations.

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He said in Manipur there are 14 designated camps housing 2177 cadres who are qualified electors belonging to 23 different UG groups under Suspension of Operation (SoO) and Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The Election Commission of India has given direction that these electors be allowed to vote by postal ballot taking into account the right of franchise of such electors as they cannot move out of their designated camps. In order to ensure that their right to vote is fulfilled necessary election machineries will be deployed in these designated camps.

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