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Will Follow SC Verdict on Convicted Lawmakers: CEC

Chief Election Commissioner V S Sampath today said Election Commission would follow Supreme Court's judgement on disqualification of convicted MPs and MLAs in the coming Assembly elections in five states.

"As of today, Supreme Court's order is the law of land and we will implement its order," Sampath told reporters here when asked whether convicted lawmakers would be allowed to contest election in Chhattisgarh.

A full team of the Election Commission was on a two-day visit of Chhattisgarh from Thursday for an on-the-spot assessment of poll preparedness in the Maoist-hit state.

The Commission held meetings with representatives of various political parties and senior government officials, besides poll officials of the state.

Madhya Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan and Mizoram will also go to polls by the end of this year.

Briefing reporters about poll preparedness at a press conference here this evening, Sampath said there are almost 1.67 crore voters in the state, in which 85 lakh are men and 82 lakh are women.

The state has a total of 21,418 polling stations which require 1.10 lakh personnel for conducting elections.

So far, more than 99 per cent of voter identifications have been prepared in the state, he said.

A special campaign to motivate people to exercise his or her franchise in a fearless manner will be run for people in those areas which are vulnerable from the security point of view, Sampath said.

"We are working in every possible way to conduct a fair and fearless election in Maoist-hit areas," Sampath said.

A discussion was held with the Chhattisgarh Home Secretary on deployment of security forces in the state, particularly in the Maoist-hit regions, he said.

The Income Tax Department has been roped in to keep a check on expenditure by candidates during the impending Assembly elections in the state, Sampath said.

The department has been asked to deploy its officials at Raipur airport and other airports connecting Raipur, to check flow of illegal money.

The Commission has given elaborate instructions for setting up a mechanism for media certification and monitoring committees (MCMC) at the district as well as state levels, to check "paid news", he said.

Complaints pertaining to distribution of cash and liquor will also be strictly handled, Sampath said.

Since some representatives of political parties alleged that officials discriminated among parties while directing them to follow the code of conduct, officials have been strictly ordered not to discriminate among parties, he added.

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