CPIML Submits Memorandum ...

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CPIML Submits Memorandum to Election Commission over New Election Guidelines

Conveying serious disagreements over the new election guidelines issued by the EC, the CPIML has once again submitted a memorandum to the Election Commission. Politburo member Dhirendra Jha and senior leader KD Yadav met the Chief Election Officer on 26 August 2020 and conveyed to him each point of disagreement.

They said that the guidelines are nothing but a deception. On the one hand, no Corona preventive measures have been laid out and instead this has been left to the political parties; on the other hand, the doors to election fraud have been opened even wider.

They further said that after various political parties and civil society alleged possible fraud the EC withdrew its proposal for postal ballots for people above 65 years of age, but again another provision has been made in the name of Covid which gives room for widespread fraud.

Chapter 12 (1d) of the guidelines says that not only Covid positive voters but all Covid-suspect voters as well as those in home or institutional quarantine will be entitled to postal ballot. Contrary to this, Chapter 10 (21) says that quarantined voters will cast their ballots at the polling booths in the final stage of polling. In the same Chapter 10 (4) it also says that if any voter is found through thermal screening to be having fever, they will be asked to cast their vote in the final stage of polling.

The question is, how will Covid-suspect voters be identified? Under this excuse the ruling powers can obtain postal ballots in large numbers and influence the entire election result. Separate booths can be made for containment zones, but using this as an excuse for fraud through postal ballots cannot be allowed.

Therefore, it is our demand from the EC that the provision for postal ballots for Covid-suspected or quarantined voters should be withdrawn so that the election is transparent, unbiased and reliable.

The responsibility of protecting the voters from Covid rests entirely on the Election Commission. They cannot run away from this responsibility. But the EC is bent on risking people’s lives and having the election despite huge opposition from the people. Therefore the onus is on the EC to protect the people from Covid. But Chapter 13 (3f) of the guidelines puts the entire responsibility of meetings, campaign, and Corona prevention on the parties and candidates. This is sheer irresponsibility on the part of the EC. CPIML demands that this provision should be withdrawn.

The EC should arrange for Covid allowance and free treatment for any voters, police personnel or election personnel who get infected by Covid. CPIML has also demanded that the EC insure everyone for Rs 50 lakhs so that they can avail themselves of timely treatment as required.

The CPIML has also reiterated its earlier demand from the Election Commission that the election should be conducted through ballots instead of through EVM so that the possibility of Corona infection is minimized.

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CPIML Memorandum to Election Commission:

To,
Chief Election Officer, Bihar, Patna

Subject: Regarding objectionable points in the new election guidelines issued by the Election Commission, transparency in the election, and prevention of Corona pandemic.

Respected Sir,

The new guidelines issued by the Election Commission for the Bihar Assembly Election cause serious doubts to be raised in our minds. Through this memorandum we draw your attention to these doubts and hope for the necessary corrections.

1. Possibility of election fraud through the provision for giving postal ballots to suspected Covid patients—the new guidelines speak anew of postal ballots for Covid-affected voters. Earlier, the EC had proposed postal ballots for voters above 65 years of age, but withdrew this after widespread opposition. But again this provision has been introduced in the name of Covid, and this leaves the door open for fraud on a large scale.

We wish to draw the attention of the EC to postal ballot related Chapter 12 (d) in the guidelines which says that not only Covid positive voters but all Covid-suspect voters as well as those in home or institutional quarantine will be entitled to postal ballot. Contrary to this, polling station arrangements related Chapter 10 (21) says that quarantined voters will cast their ballots at the polling booths in the final stage of polling. Contrary to this, Chapter 10 (21) says that quarantined voters will cast their ballots at the polling booths in the final stage of polling. . In the same Chapter 10 (4) it also says that if any voter is found through thermal screening to be having fever, they will be asked to cast their vote in the final stage of polling. The provisions in these two chapters are contradictory to each other. Two types of provisions have been made for the same category of voter.

The question is, how will Covid-suspect voters be identified? Under this excuse the ruling powers can obtain postal ballots in large numbers and influence the entire election result. Issuing postal ballots to Covid-suspect voters is not right by any means, as this will encourage large scale election fraud. Separate booths can be made for containment zones, but using this as an excuse for fraud through postal ballots cannot be allowed. The provision for home quarantine is also suspect, as it can lead to issue of a large number of postal ballots under this name. This can also become a means of election fraud.

2. One booth per 250 voters should be formed: The new guidelines say that one booth per 1000 voters will be formed in order to prevent Corona infection. But 1000 is a very large number and this will become the cause for a huge explosion of Covid infection. Various political parties had suggested earlier also to the EC that one booth should be arranged per 250 voters. We request the Commission to reflect deeply on this suggestion as this is the only way by which Corona infection can prevented from increasing exponentially.

3. Protection of voters from Covid infection: In the guidelines the EC says that it is the responsibility of political parties to protect the voters from Covid infection, whereas this is actually the responsibility of the EC. Chapter 13 (3f) of the guidelines puts the entire responsibility of meetings, campaign, and Corona prevention on the parties and candidates. It is our demand from the EC that this provision should be withdrawn. We have been saying from the start that the election should be postponed for a while in view of the Covid explosion, but as the EC is not in agreement with this suggestion they should accept full responsibility for the safety of voters and polling personnel. The EC should not run away from its responsibility.

4. Rs 50 lakhs insurance for all voters, polling personnel and police personnel on election duty: The EC should insure all voters, polling personnel and police personnel on election duty for Rs 50 lakhs each, and free treatment at government expense as well as subsistence allowance for families of any voters who get infected by Covid.

5. Election through ballot: The election should be held through ballots instead of through the controversial EVM in order to ensure transparency in the election.

 

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No.36
Vol.23