PRESS NOTE FROM THE OFFICE OF CHIEF ELECTORAL OFFICER SIKKIM
Information & Public Relations Department
A delegation of Election Commission of India led by Shri. Dharmendra Sharma, Senior Deputy Election Commissioner and consisting of Shri. Nitesh Vyas, Senior Deputy Election Commissioner, Shri. Ashok Kumar, Director (IT), Shri. Pankaj Srivastava, Director (Exp), Shri. Arvind Anand, Principal Secretary and Shri. Santosh Kumar Dubey, Secretary, visited Sikkim on 11th and 12th February 2024 to review the preparedness of the Election Machinery of the State for the conduct of General Elections 2024 to Lok Sabha and Sikkim Legislative Assembly.
On 11th February 2024, the ECI team had a meeting with the State Nodal Officers of various Enforcement Agencies who are responsible for Election Expenditure Monitoring. The Nodal Officer from Sikkim Police Department, Excise Department, GST & Commercial Tax Department, Transport Department, Forest Department, Income Tax Department, Reserve Bank of India, Enforcement Directorate, Department of Post, Bureau of Civil Aviation, CISF, RPF, Narcotics Control Bureau, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, CBIC, ITBP, State Level Bankers Committee and Airport Authority of India had participated in the meeting. Their Action Plan for the ensuing General Elections 2024 were discussed during the meeting. The Sr. DECs directed the Nodal Officers to strengthen their monitoring mechanism to curb the movement of Cash, Liquor, Drugs, Freebies and other materials which can be used as inducement to the voters during the Elections. They also asked these Agencies to share intelligence among themselves for an effective network of information exchange which would help in better coordination of their enforcement activities. They directed that the vigil at the Inter-State check posts should be enhanced with additional manpower as per requirement and that they should work towards breaking of nexus and networks that operate behind these inducements.
This was followed by a meeting with the Chief Secretary, DGP, Spl DGP, Chief Electoral Officer, State Police Nodal Officer, Home Secretary, Excise Commissioner and DIG of Police. In this meeting, the overall preparedness of the State for the conduct of General Elections 2024 was discussed in detail. The issues discussed during this meeting were related to Availability of sufficient manpower for the conduct of Elections, Availability of Assured Minimum Facilities in the Polling Stations, Maintenance of Law & Order, Scale of Deployment of Police Personnel, Enforcement of MCC, Election Expenditure Monitoring, Budget provisions, etc. The Chief Secretary and DGP apprised the delegation on the actions taken so far
by the State Government on these issues and assured them that a peaceful and smooth elections will be conducted in Sikkim.
On 12th February 2024, the ECI delegation had a meeting with all the District Collectors and Superintendents of Police to review the preparedness and plan of action of the District Administration. Each of the DCs and SPs made a detailed presentation on the matters relating to Electoral Roll, Printing of EPIC, identification of Critical/vulnerable Polling Stations, Availability and training of manpower, Assured Minimum Facilities in Polling Stations, arrangements for establishment of Strong Rooms, Training and Despatch Centres, Counting Centres, Election Expenditure Monitoring, etc. The Sr. DECs directed the DCs and SPs to now focus majorly on Election works and ensure that timely action is taken to dispose of the Forms received during the Continuous Updation of Electoral Rolls. They were asked to ensure strict compliance to the instructions of the ECI and meticulously follow the prescribed processes/procedures. They were also asked to enhance their performance at par with the performance in this front in the recently poll gone States.
The Sr. DECs reiterated the importance of inclusiveness and transparency in the Electoral Rolls and advised the DCs to focus on women voters, young voters, Persons with Disabilities and other vulnerable sections of the society during the Elections. They also emphasised that remoteness of the polling stations should not be an impediment for voting and the District Administration should provide the required facilities to make the voting a pleasant experience. Various IT based Applications that would be used during the General Elections 2024 were also explained in detail by the Director (IT).
Lastly, the ECI delegation held a meeting with the Chief Electoral Officer and State Police Nodal Officer which saw the participation of the DCs and SPs as well. The CEO and SPNO made a presentation on the overall scenario on the preparedness for the General Elections and maintenance of Law & Order during the Elections. The Sr. DECs suggested that training and capacity building of the election machinery is crucial for error-free elections.
In the end, the Senior Deputy Election Commissioners advised all the members of the Election machinery of the State to gear up fully for ensuring free and fair elections without deviating from the Election Laws and instructions of the Commission.
They expected a seamless coordination among all the agencies involved in bringing out a smooth and peaceful General Elections 2024 in the State.