Tag Archives: Election Commission of India

Setback for Mamata: EC turns down demand for recounting of Nandigram votes

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New Delhi: In the matter of recounting in Nandigram Assembly Constituency where the Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee was a candidate, the Election Commission of India has given the order that the Returning Officer is the Final Authority under Law

The ECI said in a statement on Tuesday 4 May that certain sections of media have reported about the matter of recounting in Nandigram. According to the EC, Returning Officer (RO) of an Assembly Constituency performs statutory functions under the RP Act, 1951in quasi-judicial capacity independently. Whether it is nomination, polling or counting, the RO acts strictly in accordance with the extant electoral laws, instructions and guidelines of the ECI.

The EC has made it very clear: “As far as the media reporting on ‘recount’ concerning Nandigram AC is concerned, as per Rule 63 of the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961, which lays down the process of dealing with recount request, it inter alia, states:

On such an application being made the returning officer shall decide the matter and may allow the application in whole or in part or may reject it in toto if it appears to him to be frivolous or unreasonable.

In the light of the above, the RO takes a decision which can only be challenged through Election Petition under section 80 of the RP Act, 1951, which provides that,

No election shall be called in question except by an election petition presented in accordance with the provisions of this Part.

After the counting in Nandigram AC, the election agent of a particular candidate requested for recount, which was rejected by the RO, through a speaking orderon the basis of material facts available before him in accordance with the provisions of Rule 63, as above, and declared the result. In such a case, only legal remedy is to file an EP before the High Court.   

CEO West Bengal, in this matter of Nandigram AC, has made available a copy of the Order of the RO and other relevant material related to counting. General Observer for the AC has also furnished a report in the matter. From the available material before the Commission, following facts reveal in respect of counting held on 2 May, 2021 in Nandigram AC: 

I. Each counting table had one micro observer.  Their reports never indicated any impurity of counting process on their respective table. 

II. The RO caused the entries of votes polled by each candidate after each round to be written on the display board which could be easily seen by the counting agents. No doubt was raised on the result of round-wise counting. This enabled the RO to proceed uninterruptedly with the counting of votes.

 III. On the basis of Form-17C duly completed by the counting supervisors, Returning Officer prepared a round-wise statement.  In addition, on the computer installed in the Counting Hall, parallel tabulation work was also done in an Excel sheet to counter check any human error.

 IV. A copy of each of the rounds’ results was shared with all the counting agents.

 V.  After every round, counting agents signed the result sheets.

 5.   Election related Officers on ground perform in extremely competitive political environment diligently with full transparency and fairness and therefore attribution of any motive in such cases is not desirable.

6.  On the basis of media reports on undue pressure on the RO Nandigram, Commission directed the Chief Secretary West Bengal on 3 May 2021 to provide adequate security, which State Government has now provided.

7. The Commission has further directed CEO West Bengal to ensure the safe custody of all election records including polled EVM/VVPAT, videorecording, statutory papers, counting records etc. strictly in accordance with laid down guidelines/instructions of the Commission. He will also coordinate with the State Government for additional security measures at such locations, if required.

Election Commission announces Assembly election in 4 States and 1 Union Territory

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New Delhi: Election Commission of India on Friday 26 February announced the schedule for General election to the Legislative Assemblies of four States – Assam, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, West Bengaland Union Territory of Puducherry.

Schedule for General Election to the Legislative Assembly of West Bengal: 

Poll EventsPhase-I (30 ACs)Phase-II (30 ACs)Phase-III (31 ACs)Phase-IV (44 ACs)Phase-V (45 ACs)Phase-VI (43 ACs)Phase-VII (36 ACs)Phase-VIII (35 ACs)
Date of Issue of Notification02.03.2021(Tuesday)05.03.2021(Friday)12.03.2021(Friday)16.03.2021(Tuesday)23.03.2021(Tuesday)26.03.2021(Friday)31.03.2021(Wednesday)31.03.2021(Wednesday)
Last date of making nomination09.03.2021(Tuesday)12.03.2021(Friday)19.03.2021(Friday)23.03.2021(Tuesday)30.03.2021(Tuesday)03.04.2021(Saturday)07.04.2021(Wednesday)07.04.2021(Wednesday)
Date of Scrutiny10.03.2021(Wednesday)15.03.2021(Monday)20.03.2021(Saturday)24.03.2021(Wednesday)31.03.2021(Wednesday)05.04.2021 (Monday)08.04.2021 (Thursday)08.04.2021(Thursday)
Last date of withdrawal12.03.2021(Friday)17.03.2021(Wednesday)22.03.2021(Monday)26.03.2021(Friday)03.04.2021(Saturday)07.04.2021(Wednesday)12.04.2021(Monday)12.04.2021(Monday)
Date of Poll27.03.2021(Saturday)01.04.2021(Thursday)06.04.2021(Tuesday)10.04.2021(Saturday)17.04.2021(Saturday)22.04.2021(Thursday)26.04.2021(Monday)29.04.2021(Thursday)
Date of Counting02.05.2021(Sunday)02.05.2021(Sunday)02.05.2021(Sunday)02.05.2021(Sunday)02.05.2021(Sunday)02.05.2021(Sunday)02.05.2021(Sunday)02.05.2021(Sunday)
Date of completion04.05.2021(Tuesday)04.05.2021(Tuesday)04.05.2021(Tuesday)04.05.2021(Tuesday)04.05.2021(Tuesday)04.05.2021(Tuesday)04.05.2021(Tuesday)04.05.2021(Tuesday)

Schedule for General Election to the Legislative Assembly of Assam: 

Poll EventsPhase-I (47 ACs)Phase-II (39 ACs)Phase-III (40 ACs)
Date of Issue of Notification02.03.2021 (Tuesday)05.03.2021 (Friday)12.03.2021 (Friday)
Last date of making nomination09.03.2021 (Tuesday)12.03.2021 (Friday)19.03.2021 (Friday)
 Date of Scrutiny10.03.2021 (Wednesday)15.03.2021 (Monday)20.03.2021 (Saturday)
Last date of withdrawal12.03.2021 (Friday)17.03.2021 (Wednesday)22.03.2021 (Monday)
Date of Poll27.03.2021 (Saturday)01.04.2021 (Thursday)06.04.2021 (Tuesday)
Date of Counting02.05.2021 (Sunday)02.05.2021 (Sunday)02.05.2021 (Sunday)
Date of completion04.05.2021 (Tuesday)04.05.2021 (Tuesday)04.05.2021 (Tuesday)

Schedule for General Election to the Legislative Assembly of Kerala: 

Poll EventsSingle Phase (All 140 ACs)
Date of Issue of Notification12.03.2021 (Friday)
Last date of making nomination19.03.2021 (Friday)
Date of Scrutiny20.03.2021 (Saturday)
Last date of withdrawal22.03.2021 (Monday)
Date of Poll06.04.2021 (Tuesday)
Date of Counting02.05.2021 (Sunday)
Date of completion04.05.2021 (Tuesday)

Schedule for General Election to the LegislativeAssembly of Puducherry: 

Poll EventsSingle Phase (All 30 ACs)
Date of Issue of Notification12.03.2021 (Friday)
Last date of making nomination19.03.2021 (Friday)
Date of Scrutiny20.03.2021 (Saturday)
Last date of withdrawal22.03.2021 (Monday)
Date of Poll06.04.2021 (Tuesday)
Date of Counting02.05.2021 (Sunday)
Date of completion04.05.2021 (Tuesday)

Schedule for General Election to the Legislative Assembly of Tamil Nadu: 

Poll EventsSingle Phase (All 234 ACs)
Date of Issue of Notification12.03.2021 (Friday)
Last date of making nomination19.03.2021 (Friday)
Date of Scrutiny20.03.2021 (Saturday)
Last date of withdrawal22.03.2021 (Monday)
Date of Poll06.04.2021 (Tuesday)
Date of Counting02.05.2021 (Sunday)
Date of completion04.05.2021 (Tuesday)

EC announces schedule for bye-elections to fill casual vacancy in the Parliamentary Constituency of Bihar and Legislative Assemblies of various States

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New Delhi: The Election Commission of India has decided to hold following bye-elections to fill vacancies in one (1) Parliamentary Constituency of Bihar and fifty six Assembly Constituencies in Legislative Assemblies of various States as per details below:

Sl. No.StateNumber & Name of Parliamentary Constituency
1.Bihar1-Valmiki Nagar
Sl. No.StateNumber & Name of Assembly Constituency
 Chhattisgarh24-Marwahi(ST)
 Gujarat01-Abdasa
 Gujarat61-Limbdi
 Gujarat65-Morbi
 Gujarat94-Dhari
 Gujarat106- Gadhada (SC)
 Gujarat147-Karjan
 Gujarat173- Dangs (ST)
 Gujarat181-Kaprada(ST)
 Haryana33-Baroda
 Jharkhand10-Dumka (ST)
 Jharkhand35- Bermo
 Karnataka136-Sira
 Karnataka154-Rajarajeshwarinagar
 Madhya Pradesh04-Joura
 Madhya Pradesh5-Sumawali
 Madhya Pradesh6-Morena
 Madhya Pradesh7-Dimani
 Madhya Pradesh8-Ambah (SC)
 Madhya Pradesh12-Mehgaon
 Madhya Pradesh13-Gohad (SC)
 Madhya Pradesh15-Gwalior
 Madhya Pradesh16-Gwalior East
 Madhya Pradesh19-Dabra (SC)
 Madhya Pradesh21-Bhander (SC)
 Madhya Pradesh23-Karera (SC)
 Madhya Pradesh24-Pohari
 Madhya Pradesh28-Bamori
 Madhya Pradesh32-Ashok Nagar (SC)
 Madhya Pradesh34-Mungaoli
 Madhya Pradesh37-Surkhi
 Madhya Pradesh53- Malhara
 Madhya Pradesh87-Anuppur (ST)
 Madhya Pradesh142-Sanchi (SC)
 Madhya Pradesh161-Biaora
 Madhya Pradesh166-Agar (SC)
 Madhya Pradesh172-Hatpipliya
 Madhya Pradesh175-Mandhata
 Madhya Pradesh179-Nepanagar (ST)
 Madhya Pradesh202-Badnawar
 Madhya Pradesh211-Sanwer (SC)
 Madhya Pradesh226-Suwasra
 Manipur30-Lilong
 Manipur34-Wangjing Tentha
 Nagaland14-Southern Angami-I (ST)
 Nagaland60-Pungro-Kiphire (ST)
 Odisha38-Balasore
 Odisha102-Tirtol (SC)
 Telangana41-Dubbak
 Uttar Pradesh40- Naugawan Sadat
 Uttar Pradesh65-Bulandshahr
 Uttar Pradesh95-Tundla (SC)
 Uttar Pradesh162- Bangermau
 Uttar Pradesh218-Ghatampur (SC)
 Uttar Pradesh337- Deoria
 Uttar Pradesh367-Malhani

After taking into consideration various factors like local festivals, weather conditions, movement of forces, pandemic etc., the Commission has decided to hold bye-elections to fill these vacancies as per the programme mentioned as under:

Poll EventsSchedule for bye-elections in 54 ACs of various States (except Manipur)Schedule for bye-elections in one PC of Bihar and two ACs of Manipur
Date of Issue of Gazette Notification09.10.2020(Friday)13.10.2020(Tuesday)
Last Date of Nominations16.10.2020(Friday)20.10.2020(Tuesday)
Date for Scrutiny of Nominations17.10.2020(Saturday)21.10.2020(Wednesday)
Last Date for Withdrawal of candidatures19.10.2020(Monday)23.10.2020(Friday)
Date of Poll03.11.2020(Tuesday)07.11.2020(Saturday)
Date of Counting10.11.2020(Tuesday)10.11.2020(Tuesday)
Date before which election shall be completed12.11.2020(Thursday)12.11.2020(Thursday)
  1. ELECTORAL ROLL

The Electoral Rolls for the aforesaid Parliamentary and Assembly Constituencies w.r.t 01.01.2020 as the qualifying date has been finally published.   

  1. ELECTRONIC VOTING MACHINES (EVMs) and VVPATs

            Adequate numbers of EVMs and VVPATs have been made available for the aforementioned bye-elections.

  1. IDENTIFICATION OF VOTERS

  In continuance of the existing practice, the voter’s identification shall be mandatory in the aforementioned elections at the time of poll. Electoral Photo Identity cards (EPIC) shall be the main document of identification of a voter. However, in order to ensure that no voter is deprived of his/her franchise, if his/her name figures in the electoral rolls, following alternate identity documents are also prescribed:

  1. Aadhar Card
  2. MNREGA Job Card
  3. PAN Card
  4. Passbooks with photograph issued by Bank/Post Office.
  5. Health Insurance Smart Card issued under the scheme of Ministry of Labour
  6. Driving License
  7. Passport
  8. Service Identity Cards with photograph issued to employees by
  9. Smart Card issued by RGI under NPR
  10. Pension document with photograph
  11. Official identity cards issued to MPs/MLAs/MLCs and
  1. MODEL CODE OF CONDUCT

            Model code of conduct shall come into force with immediate effect in the district(s) in which the whole or any part of the Assembly constituency going for election is included, subject to partial modification as issued vide Commission’ s instruction No. 437/6/1NST/2016-CCS, dated 29th June, 2017 (available on the commission’s website). The Model code of conduct shall be applicable to all candidates, political parties and the state Government concerned. Model code of conduct shall be applicable to the Union Government also.

All instructions concerning publicity of criminal antecedents by the concerned candidates and the related political parties, who select them, as directed vide letter no. 3/4/2020/SDR/Vol.III dated 6 March 2020 and letter no. 3/4/2019/SDR/Vol.IV dated 16 September 2020 shall be followed in these elections.

Other instructions including postal ballot facilities to senior citizen(above 80 years of age) and PwD electors; election expenditure management etc. shall be applicable to the aforementioned Bye-elections.

  1. BROAD GUIDELINES TO BE FOLLOWED DURING THE CONDUCT OF BYE-ELECTIONS DURING COVID-19

In view of spread of COVID-19, the Commission on 21st August, 2020 has issued broad guidelines, which is to be followed strictly during the conduct of election, which is annexed here with as Annexure-1 which is also available on Commission’s website. 

Election 2019: Poll related violence compels ECI to prohibit campaigning in West Bengal

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New Delhi: After a series of poll-related violent incidents, including large-scale stone pelting, arson and rioting, the scuffle between the ruling Trinamool Congress (TMC) and Bharatiya Janata Party workers during BJP President Amit Shah’s road show in Kolkata on Tuesday, the Election Commission has stepped in and to ensure free, fair and peaceful elections in West Bengal issued orders under Article 324 of the Constitution and all other enabling powers to bring down the curtain on campaigning in nine West Bengal parliamentary constitencies going to poll on 19 May.

After considering the inputs received from West Bengal, ECI has issued directives on Wednesday, 15 May 2019, to relieve Rajeev Kumar, IPS, ADG, CID, with imemdiate effect and attached him to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs in New Delhi by 10.00 am on 16 May 2019.

The Election Commission has also relieved Atri Bhattacharya, lAS, Principal Secretary, Home & Hill
Affairs, Government of West Bengal from the charge he was holding for having interfered in the process of conducting the election by directing the Chief Electoral Officer, West Bengal vide his D.O. letter
No.629/HS/PA/19 on 13.05.2019.

The West Bengal Chief Secretary will look after the additional charge of Home Secretary, West Bengal.

The Constitution in Article 324 has vested the responsibility of conducting free and fair elections to Parliament and State Legislatures and to the office of the President and Vice-President of India in the ECI.

On Wednesday, the authorities after delaying its response to a Supreme Court order, released on bail BJP activist Priyanka Sharma, who had been arrested two days ago for sharing a meme of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

The Mamata meme

The ECI has directed that no person shall convene, hold, attend, join or address any public meeting or procession in connection with an election or display to the public any election matter by means of cinematograph, television or other similar apparatus, or propagate any election matter to the public by holding or by arranging the holding of any musical concert or any theatrical performance or any other entertainment or amusement with a view to attracting the members of the public in connection with the ongoing elections in West Bengal.

The ECI order says that no spirituous, fermented or intoxicating liquors or other substances of a like nature shall be sold, given or distributed at a hotel, eating house, tavern shop or any other place, public or private, within polling areas in nine West Bengal constituencies – Dum Dum, Barasat, Basirhat, Jaynagar, Mathurapur, Diamond harbour, Jadavpur, Kolkata Dakshin and Kolkata Uttar till the conclusion of poll on 19 May 2019.

Click here for ECI order to prohibit campaign by all political parties in West Bengal

Click here for ECI order to relieve West Bengal officers of their charge with immediate effect

The letter that led to the immediate removal of the Principal Secretary Home and Hill Affairs, Government of West Bengal