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DDC polls: SEC says adequate security arrangements in place

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‘No candidate will be stopped from campaigning’

Srinagar: State Election Commissioner, SEC K K Sharma Monday said an adequate number of additional forces have come from outside and a “very comfortable security environment” will remain in place to ensure free, fair and smooth elections.
Addressing a press conference here, Sharma said that additional forces have been made available and they are being deployed in districts while a few are on the way to Kashmir.
“There will be a very comfortable security environment for the smooth conduct of polls in J&K, especially Kashmir,” Sharma said.
SEC said that adequate security arrangements are being put in place and deployment of additional 165 CAPFcompanies is being ensured for maintaining peaceful law and order situation, area domination, security of candidates and polling booths for incident free polls in Kashmir. He said that keeping the weather conditions into consideration, most of the vulnerable areas have been taken up for polls in phase -I.
He said that candidates lodged in cluster accommodation are not barred from campaigning and that there may be security reasons in some areas.
“Those who claim that they are not being allowed to go for campaigning should write to me and at the same time to concerned SSPs and Deputy Commissioners of the concerned districts,” he said.
“Every candidate will get security cover to his/her campaigning.”
Sharma said that he has received a letter from the PAGD president Dr Farooq Abdullah and has gone through the same.
“The issue has been taken up with the divisional administration and will be sorted out. I reiterate that no candidate is barred from attending his campaigning,” he added.
He said that political parties are free to select their star campaigners for campaigning in districts.
“This process is being followed across India. He said election material has been dispatched to the remote areas that remain cut-off due to bad weather and accumulation of snow.
SEC said that snow clearance machinery and required manpower has been kept in ready gear in all snow bound areas for hassle- free conduct of elections in these areas. He said that General Observers and Expenditure Observers have been designated for all districts to keep check on the expenditure process by contesting candidates.
Terming DDC polls as historic, SEC said that these elections being held for the first time are important for the development and strengthening of democratic set up in the UT. He said that all DCs and SSPs have been instructed to ensure comfortable campaigning of all candidates besides providing them adequate security arrangements during their visits to their areas.
Earlier, SEC chaired a meeting with DCs and SSPs of all districts through videoconferencing which was also attended by Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Pandurang K Pole and IGP Kashmir Vijay Kumar.
SEC said that all arrangements are being put in place to ensure conduct of polls in free and fair manner across the UT. Moreover, he said that goal of SEC is to ensure safe elections are held in the UT.
Emphasizing on providing adequate security arrangements to all participating candidates whether party based or as independent including star campaigners, SEC instructed DCs to ensure proper transport arrangements, heating facilities and other related arrangements are made available for polling staff for their comfortable stay and smooth to and fro movement during the election process.
He said that there has been enthusiastic atmosphere prevailing in Kashmir as encouraging nominations particularly youth participants are coming forward to participate in these elections for promotion of democracy. He said the DDC polls which are being held for the first time in the UT are important and shall ensure district level leadership to the people and give boost to the developmental process in all districts.
He said that special arrangements of postal ballots are being made for various categories of people which includes senior citizens, Covid- 19 positive to remain in isolation and others to ensure everyone who can’t turn up to the polling booth is given opportunity to exercise his/ her right to franchise.
SEC took a district wise review about the arrangements being made regarding elections like printing of ballot papers, migrant postal ballots, absentee voters, dispatching of material, finalization of polling staff, setting up of control rooms, media centers, poll day arrangements, communication plan, details of canvassing candidates, uncontested candidates, constituencies and Covid related arrangements.
SEC instructed DCs to ensure people to strictly follow all Covid related SOPs including use of face masks and hand sanitizers while participating in the election process. He also asked them to ensure availability of thermal scanning, face masks and hand sanitizers at all polling booths.

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