Friday April 20, 2018
Home India Eye in the sk...

Eye in the sky: Drones to monitor Bihar polls

0
//
57
Republish
Reprint

New Delhi, Oct 8 : Drones will be used for the first time for surveillance in the upcoming Bihar assembly polls, according to a top election official.

“Helicopters have been used in the past for surveillance, but drones will be used this time, probably for the first time,” R Lakshmanan, Bihar’s Additional Chief Electoral Officer, told IANS in an interview over the phone from Patna. He declined to give operational details about the drone usage.

The task of conducting polls for the 243 assembly constituencies across the 38 districts of the country’s third most populous state will be done in five phases – October 12, 16, 28, November 1 and 5. Counting of votes will take place on November 8.

Lakshmanan said that arguably, the biggest challenges would be maintaining law and order, checking “use and misuse of money power”, the implementation of model code of conduct and “improving voter participation.”

About 4.89 lakh officials drawn from the civil side, and 6 lakh security personnel have been deployed to oversee poll preparations.

Lakshmanan said till October 6, Rs 15.56 crore in cash and close to 5.34 lakh litres of liquor which had been confiscated. The liquor was being stocked for distribution before voting days.

According to him, money and liquor were the two area which threw up challenges as far as monitoring election expenditure was concerned. So far, the election office has registered 265 FIRs for these violations.

In comparison, Rs 6 crore in cash and around 5.78 lakh litres of liquor were confiscated during the 2014 Lok Sabha election in the state, he said.

The other big challenge was over law and order. He said combing operations over the last couple of months in the 11-odd districts “where the Maoists threat is serious have fetched positive results”.

 

“There has been significant success with the recovery of 300 explosives and 800 odd illegal weapons,” he added.

He said the poll-day preparations have begun well in advance and adequate numbers of security forces were available for deployment.

Over 6.6 crore voters, including over 3.1 crore women voters, are eligible to cast their ballot at the 62,779 polling stations across the state. Some 1,200 of these polling stations in certain areas of Bhagalpur, Khagaria, Vaishali, Darbhanga and Supaul districts, besides others, fall in the riverine belt of the state and are difficult to access.

Poll officials are posed with the peculiar challenge of treading a difficult terrain and cross over a river to access the polling stations and reach out to the voters there, the election official said.

Lakshmanan pointed at another challenge. He said that religious festivals such as Durga Puja and Muharram in between the poll schedule pose a unique challenge. “We have to ensure communal harmony as we handle the security arrangements during these festivals in poll time,” he said.

Lakshmanan, a Bihar cadre bureaucrat, has previously served as the district magistrate of Darbhanga and was the district director of the education department’s mid-day programme.

He has been with the Bihar CEO Ajay Nayak’s office for past year and half.

He said a number of initiatives had been taken to get the approximately 50 lakh first time voter – between the age group of 18 and 19 – to vote.

The run-up to the staggered polls has also seen a number of leaders from across parties indulging in hate speech.

Lakshmanan said leaders generally adhere to the model code of conduct, and when “we see certain violations in speeches”, the commission sends a show cause notice.

For instance, senior state BJP leader Sushil Kumar Modi and Rashtriya Janata Dal chief Lalu Prasad were issued notices and both have responded to the Election Commission in New Delhi.

“Seven FIRs have been filed in this regard so far and a police probe is on,” he said. He did not give further details.

Lakshmanan said the days of booth capturing and violence at polling booths in the state are over as not a single such incident was reported during the polls in 2005, ’09 and ’10.

(Priyanka,IANS)

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2015 NewsGram

Next Story

Ahead of next month’s crucial elections, Indian filmmaker-writer Pankaj Dubey joins Britain’s Labour Party

0
//
48
Britain's Labour Party Leader,Jeremy Corbyn, Twitter

Mumbai, May 3, 2017: Ahead of next month’s crucial elections in Great Britain, Mumbai-based author and filmmaker Pankaj Dubey has joined the Labour Party.

Welcoming him, Labour Party General Secretary Iain McNicol said members like (Dubey) would be the party’s greatest strength, especially during a general election.

Thanking him for “joining at this most important time”, McNicol said in a letter that “We must keep our movement growing to ensure we are as strong as possible on (election day) June 8.”

NewsGram brings to you latest new stories in India.

British Prime Minister Theresa May announced a snap poll in a very volatile political situation in the backdrop of Brexit.

“I shall soon meet Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and brief him on issues pertaining to the Indian Diaspora in the UK and my plans to work among them,” Dubey, 38, told IANS here today on Wednesday.

“I decided to join the UK’s Labour Party as I think I can relate quite organically with its vision, modus operandi and ‘all inclusiveness’.”

Go to NewsGram and check out news related to political current issues.

He said the Labour party has launched a drive to invite people to join it from across Commonwealth countries. “I am ecstatic to share the fact that the Labour Party is open to members coming from across the Commonwealth landscape globally,” Dubey added.

Dubey said he is not averse to settling down in the UK and fighting elections there in the future. He acquired his lawyer degree from University of Delhi followed by a Masters in Applied Communication from Coventry School of Art & Design, England.

Born in Ranchi, Jharkhand, Dubey is a best-selling bilingual novelist and filmmaker known for his books “What A Loser!” and “Ishqiyapa – To Hell With Love.”

A former journalist with BBC in London and the Resident Editor of Pravasi Today magazine for Indian Diaspora, Dubey said he later moved into filmmaking and is currently working on a couple of titles.

He was instrumental in organizing India’s first street film fest for slum and rural kids, ‘Sadak Chhaap Film Festival’ around seven years ago. (IANS)