Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar said on Sunday that the Election Commission is dedicated to holding free and fair elections with an emphasis on boosting voting accessibility and turnout in Rajasthan.
At a press conference in Jaipur, Rajiv Kumar stated that candidates running in elections will have to provide information about their criminal histories. Political parties will also be required to defend their selection of the nominee.
Kumar and Election Commissioners Anup Chandra Pandey and Arun Goel are in the state to review the preparations for the assembly elections due later this year.
Assembly elections in Rajasthan
The chief election commissioner said the "vote from home" facility will be available to elderly voters and people with 40 per cent or more disabilities for the first time in Rajasthan during the assembly polls.
Rajasthan has 5.25 crore voters, including 2.73 crore males, 2.51 crore females and 604 transgenders. Of these, 18,462 are older than 100 years, 11.8 lakh above 80 and 21.9 lakh are first-time voters, Kumar said.
According to PTI, the full commission has held a series of meetings with state government officials, including the chief secretary, district collectors and police superintendents, the director general of police and others, during its three-day visit to the state.
Meetings have also been held with representatives of political parties.
Taking about the points raised by the political party representatives during the meeting, Kumar said they stressed on a transparent election process, action on false affidavits and unverified and unauthorised data related to castes on social media, effective checks on the distribution of freebies, cash and liquor to voters, and the deployment of paramilitary personnel at critical booths.
They also urged the poll panel to prevent the governments from issuing back-dated orders once the Model Code of Conduct is enforced, he said.
The commission will ensure that the elections are held in a free and fair manner and the turnout should increase to 75 per cent at each polling station. During the 2018 assembly elections in Rajasthan, the overall voter turnout was recorded at 74.71 per cent.
Kumar also informed that 29,643 newlyweds were registered through special camps.
He said 1,600 polling stations will be managed by women, 200 by persons with disabilities and 1,600 by newly recruited youths. The poll process at 50 per cent of the 51,756 polling stations will be webcast.
CEC on mandatory voting
Rajiv Kumar iterated that there is no proposal before the commission to make voting mandatory for people.
Asked about mandatory voting, he said, "There is no proposal before the Election Commission."
Kumar said initiatives have been taken to increase the turnout and enhance the ease of voting.
Strict directions have been issued to law enforcement agencies in the state to check the transportation of liquor and cash in the border areas, particularly in the regions that share boundaries with Haryana and Punjab, he said.