Chandigarh, January 8: Punjab Chief Electoral Officer Dr. S Karuna Raju, while briefing the media on Saturday said that ECI has announced seven phased Assembly Elections schedule for five states of India. He said that in Punjab elections to 117 Legislative constituencies would be held in second phase at one go.
As per the schedule, issue of the notification is on January 21, 2022 and Last date of making Nominations would be January 28, 2022, while scrutiny of nominations would be done on January 29, 2022. The date of withdrawal of candidature has been fixed on January 31, 2022. The date for polling has been fixed on February 14, 2022, whereas, counting will be done on March 10, 2022.
He said that keeping in view of emerging challenge of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, everyone is requested for mandatory adherence of COVID appropriate behaviour. He also requested Political Parties to strictly follow mandatory COVID-19 guidelines and encouraged them to opt for Virtual Campaign. There would be no campaign from 8pm to 8am.
He said that as per the ECI directions, there will be no rallies till January 15, 2022, after which ECI will review the COVID-19 situation. He said that there would be zero tolerance for any violation and action under Disaster Management Act will be taken against anyone found violating COVID norms.
Dr Raju said that political parties setting up candidates with criminal cases would have to publish along with the reasons for selection of such candidate and also as to why other individual without criminal antecedents could not be selected as candidate. The details shall be published within 48 hours of the selection the candidate in One local vernacular newspaper and one national newspaper and on official social media platforms of the Political Party, including Facebook and Twitter. Dr Raju said that any political party fails to submit such compliance report with the ECI, it may amount to Contempt of Supreme Court.
He said that people can also check about the criminal antecedents of any candidates at ‘Know Your Candidate’ on Voter Helpline Mobile application.
Dr Raju said that in order to encourage maximum voter turnout in upcoming Punjab Assembly Elections 2022, Election Commission of India (ECI) has also allowed 80-years-old and above voters, Persons with Disability (more than 40%) and COVID-19 positive patients to exercise their franchise via postal ballots.
Briefing on law and order, Dr Raju said that 75 companies of CAPF have already been alloted to Punjab and 50 companies are reaching on January 10, 2022. As soon as, companies will arrive, they will start area domination operations.
After enforcement of Model code of conduct, Dr Raju immediately held meeting with DCs-cum-DEOs and CPs/SSPs and issued directions to strictly implement the Model Code of Conduct and ensure its compliance in letter and spirit.
Dr Raju has also brought all the ECI guidelines to the notice of Chief Secretary and all other higher officials.
He said that an App C-vigil has been launched and the complaints registered in this App would be redressed within 100 minutes. In another IT App Suvidha, candidates can apply for various permissions for rallies etc which would be dealt quickly.
Static Surveillance teams and flying squads have been operational all across the state to check the any violation of model code of conduct. He said that adequate security forces have been deployed for conducting free, fair and safe electoral processes in the state.