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Central forces will be deployed in all booths in West Bengal elections: EC

On the law and order situation in the state, Zaidi said, “We came here to assess the situation. We have already directed our election machinery to take note of, record and document any incident with political overtones.”

Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi in Kolkata

The Election Commission on Thursday said it is their endeavour to hold the next year’s Assembly polls in West Bengal in free, fair and peaceful manner and deploy central forces and IT-enabled efficient and smart observers for smooth conduct of election process.”The Election Commission will perform its constitutional obligations and ensure that the Assembly elections in West Bengal are held in free, fair and peaceful manner,” Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi told a press conference here after a series of meetings with officials and political parties.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”There will be 100 per cent availability of central paramilitary forces in all the polling stations. They will be available well in advance and be used for area domination and confidence-building measures,” he said.”The Election Commission-appointed observers will be looking into the boothwise, areawise deployment of the central forces and the observers will be from outside the state,” he said.Asked how the EC will ensure free and fair polls as there are allegations from opposition parties of violence during the Lok Sabha poll, Zaidi said, “As Lok Sabha elections are held throughout the country, the availability of central forces was less. But this time central paramilitary forces will be deployed at every booth. The CPFs will be deployed and supervised directly by the ECI.”On the law and order situation in the state, Zaidi said, “We came here to assess the situation. We have already directed our election machinery to take note of, record and document any incident with political overtones.” Asked how the EC plans to hold a violence-free election as previous polls in Bengal were marred by violence, the CEC said, “As I mentioned, everytime the Election commission has raised the bar and this time also it will be our endeavour to make the election peaceful in the state”. Zaidi said “it has to be seen that no voter is denied the basic right to vote. This responsibility lies with district election officials, DMs and SPs”. He said the commission would continue to assess performance of district election officials and other officials who are likely to be attached with the EC. Depending on the assessment and requirement, the commission would take appropriate action at an appropriate time.”The commission will deploy IT-enabled efficient and smart observers,” he said, adding if required, the number of observers will be enhanced. Asked how many phases the election will have, Zaidi said,” It is too early to say”.Earlier in the day, opposition parties in the state had urged Zaidi to ensure a free and fair poll which should have five to seven phases. The full bench of the poll panel, led by the CEC, held a series of meetings with all political parties, senior government officials and district administrations.Zaidi said around 31 lakh applications for new voters were received, out of which 26 lakh were enrolled. He said three IT-related initiatives have been taken up.”One is “Subidha” which is a single-window system where permissions for holding rallies will be given in 24 hours.” “The second one is “Samadhan”, which is a grievance redressal system such as electoral roll and other problems. The third one is regarding the hiring of transport machinery. The portal will be called “Sugam” which will address issues related to transport operators from whom vehicles are requisitioned,” he said.Stating that the final electoral roll would be released on January 5, 2016, the CEC said “It is, however, subject to continuous updation.” “Similarly in case of wrong deletion there is a system of its redressal,” Zaidi said, adding that the entire matter would be handled effectively.Even as the state has a total of about 77,000 polling booths, the number could be enhanced if required, Zaidi said adding, “The poll panel gives lot of emphasis on providing with basic facilities for the voters and polling personnel in all polling booths.”The CEC also directed all officials in the state, who would be involved with the polling process, to be neutral, fair and impartial in discharging their election duties. Number of polling and expenditure observers could also be increased, if required, he said adding that special observers could also be sent to entirely oversee the law and order situation in the state.”We heard all stake-holders and now we are assessing the situation before initiating appropriate measures,” Zaidi said adding that we have assured the political parties of an effective machinery of the poll panel to ensure a free, fair, peaceful and transparent election in the state. The CEC further said that steps have also been taken to put the persons with criminal antecedents behind the bar well ahead of the polling schedule and take precautionary measures to avoid any untoward incidents during the polling process.

SIT to hand over criminal inquiry into illegal iron ore mining to CBI

The Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by former Justice MB Shah will hand over criminal probe into the illegal iron ore mining scam to the CBI. To start with, CBI would be looking at Odisha, where illegal iron ore mining is pegged at over Rs 59,000 crore.The scam involves several companies including big names like Odisha Mining Corporation Ltd (OMC), Sharda Mines (P) Ltd, Tata Steel, Serajudin and Company, KJS Ahluwalia, Mideast Integrated Steel Ltd (MESCO), Rungta Mines, BICO, Indrani Patnaik, Aryan Mining and several others.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The companies have been indicted on several grounds like illegal renewal of licences, transfer of leases, mining without forest clearances, encroachments, illegal iron exports, revenue losses and corruption. Apart from these companies, the scam also involves role of state government officials and politicians.Highly placed sources in SIT told dna, “The idea was mooted by former justice Arijit Passayat as the state governments and other government departments have failed to take any action. Justice Shah too supported the idea and the decision came unanimously.” The team also includes officials from CBDT, income tax, enforcement directorate, central excise and other government departments.A member of SIT on condition of anonymity said, “SIT would soon meet CBI officials to chalk out modalities as the investigation agency is under manpower crunch and has already conveyed it. The date is not finalised yet.”Interestingly, in an interview to dna investigating team last week, when asked if he is disappointed as mining leases of miners indicted by him have got renewal, Justice Shah said, “No question of disappointment. I had suggested CBI inquiry and probably other departments will suggest the same. I feel there would be a CBI inquiry.”The illegal iron ore mining in Odisha has been probed by two agencies till date. In 2010, Centre appointed Justice MB Shah committee to look into illegal iron ore mining in states of Odisha, Goa, Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh, but wrapped it before it could investigate Chhattisgarh. Similarly, Supreme Court also appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC) was also asked to probe the scam and present its report.According to the Shah Commission report during 2000-01 to 2009-10, the Odisha state government had issued 146 notices for excess/illegal mining or iron and manganese extraction amounting to Rs 59,203 crore and had asked the state government to recover it.The commission report clearly stated that average profit on per tonne of iron ore increased from Rs 139.78 per tonne in 2001-2002 to Rs 3,237.64 per tonne in 2010-11 for the companies mining in Odisha. Besides, in 2011, South Eastern Railway detected cases of freight charge evasion and issued demand notices to 14 companies for Rs 1,874 crore.In case of Sarda Mines, CEC alleged serious illegalities and irregularities. It had found “unholy nexus” between Sharda Mines and Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL). The committee probed into allegations that Sharda Mines is actually owned and controlled by Jindal Steel and Power Ltd through its business associates, ex-employees and directors/employees of associated companies of JSPL.Similarly, various companies like OMDC, Tata Steel, Serajudin and Company, Rungta Mines Ltd, BICO, Rungta Songs (P) Ltd along with nine other companies were found to extract iron ore above 50 lakh million tonnes illegally. These 14 lessees account for 72.83 percent and 57.86 percent respectively of production of iron ore and manganese. The Shah commission in its report had said that since this is one of the biggest illegal mining ever observed by the commission, it is strongly felt that this is a fit case to be handed over to CBI, for further investigation and follow up action. It also suggested CBI to investigate into allegations of corruption against politicians, bureaucrats and others. Shah commission had nailed several bureaucrats and officials from forest and mining department apart from railways.

Madhya Pradesh cadre IAS officer Om Prakash Rawat is the new Election Commissioner

Rawat’s appointment comes days before the poll watchdog takes a call on announcing the schedule for Bihar assembly polls.

Om Prakash Rawat, a former Madhya Pradesh cadre IAS officer who till recently was Secretary at the Centre, was appointed as the new Election Commissioner on Thursday, days before dates of the Bihar assembly elections are announced. His appointment will come into effect from the day he assumes office, a Law Ministry statement said.With Rawat’s appointment, the sole vacancy in the three-member poll body has been filled. His appointment comes days before the poll watchdog takes a call on announcing the schedule for Bihar assembly polls.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Born on December 2, 1953, Rawat — a 1977 batch officer — will have a tenure of more than three years which will end in December, 2018. He had retired from government service in December last year. An EC or a CEC has a tenure of six years in office or till he or she attains the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.”It is a constitutional post and I will carry out my duties with impartiality,” Rawat told PTI.While Naseem Zaidi is the Chief Election Commissioner, Achal Kumar Joti is the other Election Commissioner. Rawat’s second stint at the Centre began in March 2012 and he was Secretary, Department of Public Enterprises in the Ministry of Heavy Industries when he retired.Earlier in 1993, he was a Director in the Defence Ministry. He has also served as Principal Secretary to Babu Lal Gaur, the then Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh between 2004 and 2006.An awardee of state government’s ‘recognition of forest rights’ in 2009, Rawat did his MSc in Social Development Planning in 1989 in the United Kingdom. After V S Sampath demitted office in January this year, H S Brahma was elevated as CEC. But after Brahma demitted office, two posts of ECs in the three-member body had remained vacant.Between April 19, when Nasim Zaidi took over as the CEC till May 7 when Joti was appointed Election Commissioner, he was the only member in the poll body.

Election Commission to brief media about Bihar Assembly elections today

The Election Commission of India (ECI) will address the media on the upcoming Assembly elections in Bihar at 5 pm in Patna on Saturday.

CEC Nasim Zaidi

The Election Commission of India (ECI) will address the media on the upcoming Assembly elections in Bihar at 5 pm in Patna on Saturday. Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Nasim Zaidi, along with other senior officials of the Election Commission had arrived in Patna yesterday to assess preparations for the upcoming polls. The EC officials are likely to meet district-level officials today to discuss security plans for the elections.The assembly polls in Bihar, slated for late this year, will be a heated affair, with six parties having merged under the Janata Parivar banner contesting against the BJP and the Congress. <!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>An Election Commission (EC) team led by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Nasim Zaidi arrived in the state capital on Friday on a two-day visit to assess preparations for the forthcoming Bihar Assembly elections.The CEC, Election Commissioner Achal Kumar Jyoti and Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha met representatives of political parties separately and sought their opinion, suggestions and took their requests with regard to the elections.

Chief Election Commissioner meets representatives of political parties in Bihar, RJD asks for removal of NOTA option

The CEC, Election Commissioner Achal Kumar Jyoti and Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha met representatives of political parties separately and sought their opinion, suggestions and took their requests with regard to the elections.

Nasim Zaidi

An Election Commission (EC) team led by Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Nasim Zaidi arrived in the state capital on Friday on a two-day visit to assess preparations for the forthcoming Bihar Assembly elections.The CEC, Election Commissioner Achal Kumar Jyoti and Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha met representatives of political parties separately and sought their opinion, suggestions and took their requests with regard to the elections. A delegation of the ruling JD(U) led by its state president Vashisht Narayan Singh submitted a ten point memorandum seeking various measures to ensure free and fair polls.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>JD(U) spokesperson and MLC Neeraj Kumar said “our party has demanded adequate deployment of Central Paramilitary Forces including CRPF, BSF and Rapid Action Force. Police forces from such states, whose impartiality has been under doubt, should not be deployed in the state. If needed, forces should be brought from Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Jharkhand.” Kumar said his party drew the EC’s attention to the fact that the polls would be held during important festivals and occasions like Dushehra, Diwali, Chhath and Muharram.”At such a time, anti-social elements may try to incite communal passions. Since the administration will work under the supervision of the EC, our leaders have asked it to ensure strict measures to maintain communal harmony and peace,” he said. A five-member delegation of the RJD, a JD(U) ally in the coming elections, was led by its state president Ram Chandra Purvey, while its legislative party leader Abdul Bari Siddiqui, MLC Bhola Yadav, general secretary Mundrika Singh Yadav and Chittaranjan Gagan were part of the delegation.”We (RJD) have demanded mini-booths in localities inhabited by people belonging to Scheduled Castes, extremely backward castes and other weaker sections are able to caste their votes without any fear or obstruction from musclemen,” Bhola Yadav said. Yadav also said the RJD has demanded that the option of NOTA be removed from Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) as illiterate or less educated voters were unable to differentiate it with other symbols. “Over 60 lakh votes were wasted during the last Lok Sabha polls due to the NOTA provision. We have also requested the EC to use latest EVMs and conduct videography of all polling stations to boost up confidence of the downtrodden,” Yadav added. The RJD delegation appealed the EC not to ban the use of traditional vehicles like ‘tamtams’ (single horse drawn carriages) and bullock carts for campaigning in the elections as animal rights body PETA has demanded.It also requested the EC to stop BJP from defacing public and private property across the state by writing on the walls. Meanwhile, the BJP petitioned EC to remove Bihar Home Department principal secretary Amir Subhani from his post to ensure free and fair polls.The party delegation led by its state president Mangal Pandey said “The closeness of Subhani with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is well-known. He has continuously remained the Home Department principal secretary in Kumar’s government since 2009 though all other officials were transferred. Subhani was shifted by former CM Jitan Ram Manjhi, but was reinstated in the Home Department after Kumar again took charge.” The BJP demanded the polls in three or four phases, all polling centres be covered by central forces to ensure fair elections and sought the EC review all recent administrative transfers done by the JD(U) government.”We have appealed the EC to identify all tainted officials right from those at top posts to Station House Officer (SHO) level and keep them away from poll related duties. We have also demanded that those posted at one place for three years be removed,” Pandey said. Among its 20 demands, the BJP said each polling centre in Naxal-affected districts should have maximum 600 voters only, instead of 1,000 as voting time in such areas was limited from 7 AM to 3 PM.It also demanded all booths and polling centres to be covered with CCTV and live webcast of the footage. BJP allies Lok Janshakti Party (LJP) and Rashtriya Lok Samata Party (RLSP) also sent their delegations and put their demands before the EC team.LJP delegation was led by its deputy president and MP Ramchandra Paswan, while RLSP delegation was led by its general secretary Shambu Nath Sinha. Their demands were on the lines of those made by the BJP. Both parties demanded adequate security and deployment of central forces to ensure transparency in the polls.Bihar Pradesh Congress Committee (BPCC) president Ashok Chaudhary led the party delegation and demanded central forces for all polling centres and state police forces only from neighbouring states like West Bengal, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh.”We have demanded that election slips should be given to every genuine voter at least a day in advance so that people know their exact status and this may result in higher vote percentage. We have also asked the EC to remain more vigilant against communal elements as the polls are being held during the festive season,” Chaudhary said.The EC team would meet senior administrative officials including state Chief Secretary, Commissioners, IT officers and others tomorrow and was expected to return with the feedback and announce the election dates soon.

SC agree to hear plea on appointment of CEC, ECs to poll panel

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday agreed to hear a plea seeking a direction to the Centre to constitute a “neutral and independent selection committee” to recommend names for the post of Chief Election Commissioner and Election Commissioners.

A bench of Chief Justice H L Dattu and justices Arun Kumar Mishra and Amitava Roy, however, asked lawyer Anoop Baranwal to make certain changes in the prayer of his PIL and posted it for hearing on 13 July.

Supreme Court. Agencies

Supreme Court. Agencies

The plea has sought a direction to Centre “to make law for ensuring a fair, just and transparent process of selection by constituting a neutral and independent collegium/ selection committee to recommend the name for the appointment of member to the Election Commission”.

It also sought direction to the Centre for constituting “an interim neutral and independent collegium/selection committee to recommend the names for the appointment on the vacant post of members to the Election Commission”.

The plea alleged that the Centre’s practice in appointing the member of Election Commission was discriminatory and violative of law, which obligate executive/legislature to make law for ensuring a fair, just and transparent selection process for Election Commission.

“The practice of appointing the member to the Election Commission without making law for a fair, just and transparent process of selection by constituting an independent and neutral collegium/selection committee to recommend the name, is in violation of Article 14 and 324(2) of the Constitution of India and is in vogue continuously since adoption of the Constitution,” the plea said.

“Under the Constitution of India, the independence and integrity of the Election Commission is of paramount importance for ensuring a free and fair election to strengthen and maintain the life of the democracy,” it said, adding that in the absence of a proper law, “the independence and the integrity of the Election Commission is being jeopardized and thus public injury is being caused.”

PTI

CEC favours collegium to choose ECs

He was responding to a question on the recent recommendation of the Law Commission that the appointment of Election Commissioners, including the CEC, should be made by the President in consultation with a three-member collegium.

Nasim Zaidi

File Photo
Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi favours a collegium type set up to choose the CEC and Election Commissioners who he says should have equal protection under the Constitution in the matter of removal. He, however, hastened to add that the present system of selection of Election Commissioners and the three-member Commission is working fine. “I would say that the (present) system has also worked well. But if there is a consensus going forward that this system needs to be replaced by a consultative system, I think the Commission would live with that and work well.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Even in the absence of this consultative process, CECs and ECs have acted very neutrally, very independently,” he said. He was responding to a question on the recent recommendation of the Law Commission that the appointment of Election Commissioners, including the CEC, should be made by the President in consultation with a three-member collegium. The collegium should consist of the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition of the Lok Sabha (or the leader of the largest Opposition party in the Lok Sabha) and the Chief Justice of India, it had said.Zaidi recalled that a committee had some years ago recommended a collegium system for appointment of Election Commissioners. “They focused on Election Commissioners. By seniority, the EC becomes CEC, unless there is something extraordinary. They said the EC should enjoy the confidence of the entire political arena. A bill was also brought, but it did not succeed,” he said.Asked whether he supports the demand raised by his predecessors that all the Commissioners be made equal even in matter of removal, Zaidi said he is in “total agreement with all my predecessor Commissioners. The Commission had been taking it up with Law Ministry. Law Commission has reiterated it and this recommendation has merit”.

Bihar assembly polls possible in September-October; central forces to be deployed to check muscle power: CEC

Going by precedents, the election timings would be somewhere in September or October, he said, adding they are yet to begin the process on finalising a schedule.

Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi

Assembly elections in Bihar, where BJP is set for a battle against a united Janata Parivar, are likely to be held sometime in September-October when extensive central forces and a reworked expenditure monitoring system will be deployed to curb money and muscle power.The electoral rolls will be ready on July 31, Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi said, terming the polls in Bihar as “mother of all elections”.Going by precedents, the election timings would be somewhere in September or October, he said, adding they are yet to begin the process on finalising a schedule.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said the EC will have to take into account weather conditions, festivals, exams, holidays, heavy monsoon, heavy rains and floods before arriving at exact schedule.Zaidi also refused to go into the number of phases in which the assembly polls will be held.”Abuse of money is a big problem in Bihar. Therefore, this time we are going in for more systematic efforts. Certain legal amendments are yet to come from the Law Ministry. But within our powers, we have launched expenditure monitoring,” Zaidi told PTI in an interview.He said the EC has undertaken mapping of all constituencies of Bihar into three categories. Where EC finds maximum sensitivity, it plans to deploy central police forces “well in time.””…we will identify this time persons who serve as a channel for distributing bribe or for distribution of liquor, distribution of gifts. This assessment is still going on and we hope to come up with a re-strategised expenditure monitoring which we will roll out at an appropriate time,” he said.The Commission would be using voter-verified paper audit trail (VVPAT) in 36 of the 243 assembly constituencies. The CEC said the number of such constituencies could increase.VVPAT is a method of providing feedback to voters using a ballotless voting system. An EVM will have a small attachment to it which after pressing the button for a desired candidate, will print that name on a paper. It will be stored inside the machine and can be used in case of any controversy over the final result.Considering left-wing extremism that affects parts of the state, he said an assessment of central paramilitary forces is also going on.”Because this is a stand alone election, I hope sufficient, adequate paramilitary forces will be made available. We will come out with a strategy on this.” Asked if he could specify the number of personnel in terms of companies, Zaidi said at an appropriate time the Commission will come out with a number.”The only thing I could say that there would be a very very effective use of CPMF, because this is a stand alone assembly election. There would be sufficient number of forces available.Asked about the challenges in conduct of elections in India, he said this year the Commission is faced with Bihar.”It is said to be the mother of all elections, if I can say so,” he said, adding that some states like Bihar face three-four areas of major challenges.”…we must ensure extremely higher participation of voters and this is coupled with the fact that in some of these challenging states, the elections have to be free…means our voters in some pockets should not be intimidated, threatened, not to be victimised by…”The muscle power has more or less disappeared. So that is one major challenge that we will face…in Bihar also where there is a traditionally low turn out. In last elections, it was only 52 per cent,” Zaidi said. Zaidi said the second important challenge is the curb of abuse of money. He said bribing of voters, gifts and dopes and distribution of drugs and liquor are some of the manifestations of abuse of money power.Dubbing paid news as a “disease”, he said it was another manifestation of abuse of money power. “Under the states we have elections, we’ll face these problems. Bihar faces all of these,” he said.Responding to a question, he said the due date of Bihar election is November 29 and elections under the Constitution can be held anytime six months before the due date.”Going by the previous precedents, the election timings would be somewhere September or October. But exact dates we are yet to work out,” he said.He said the EC has undertaken measures in advance. On April 22, EC had deputed a team of Deputy ECs and DG (expenditure monitoring) for ground level assessment.”The first and the most important task for Bihar elections would be to have have our electoral rolls which are error free and do not have multiple entries… we have launched our special summary revision from May 15 to July 15,” he said.The CEC said during the special summary revision, the state election machinery has undertaken detailed exercise of going down to the polling booth level.Expecting a large number of multiple entries, Zaidi said they will be verified in the door-to-door process and later deleted after following due legal process.”But at the same time we are ensuring that the names of such deleted persons are made available to political parties so that they also do their due diligence and will also be put up on website, read out in gram sabha level,” he said.During the summary revision, poll authorities will hold two special camps on May 24 and first week of June. “Finally, after going through the legal process, the final list will be published on July 31 of this year,” he said.He said an image assessment software has now been employed to detect multiple entries and it will be used in Bihar also.

Former Gujarat Chief Secretary Achal Kumar Jyoti appointed as Election Commissioner

Born on January 23, 1953, Jyoti will have a tenure of nearly three years, when he will turn 65, the age at which ECs demit office under the Constitution.

Achal Kumar Jyoti, a former Chief Secretary during the tenure of Narendra Modi as Gujarat Chief Minister, was on Thursday appointed as the Election Commissioner, filling one of the two vacancies in the three-member body.The appointment of Jyoti (62), who retired from active service in January, 2013 after serving in various capacities in Gujarat including as Chairman of the Kandla Port Trust between 1999 and 2004 and Managing Director of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd (SSNNL).His tenure as EC will commence from the day he assumes charge, a Law Ministry notification said today.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Born on January 23, 1953, Jyoti will have a tenure of nearly three years, when he will turn 65, the age at which ECs demit office under the Constitution.An EC or a CEC has a tenure of six years in office or till he or she attains the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.After V S Sampath demitted office in January, H S Brahma was elevated as CEC. But after Brahma demitted office, two posts of ECs in the three-member body have remained vacant.Between April 19, when Nasim Zaidi took over as the CEC till today, he was the only member in the poll body.In the coming days, the government will appoint one more Election Commissioner to fill up the last vacancy.He has also worked as Secretary in the Industry, Revenue and Water Supply Departments.

Nasim Zaidi set to become next Chief Election Commissioner

New Delhi: Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi is set to become the next Chief Election Commissioner later this month.

The Law Ministry has initiated the file to appoint the next CEC as present incumbent HS Brahma retires on 19 April.

Nasim Zaidi in a file photo. Image courtesy: Election Commission websiteNasim Zaidi in a file photo. Image courtesy: Election Commission website

Nasim Zaidi in a file photo. Image courtesy: Election Commission website

Highly-placed sources in the government on Wednesday said that the Law Ministry has cited convention of appointing the senior-most EC as the CEC.

Since Prime Minister Narendra Modi is leaving on a foreign tour on Thursday, there is sense of urgency to clear the paperwork on Wednesday as the file will travel to Rashtrapati Bhawan for the President to appoint the CEC.

After Zaidi’s appointment, the government will set in motion the process to appoint two Election Commissioners to fill vacancies in the three-member body. “But as of now, we are appointing a new CEC. A decision on ECs will come later,” a senior government functionary said.

After VS Sampath demitted office in January, Brahma was elevated as CEC. But the post which fell vacant after Brahma’s elevation has not been filled up so far.

After Brahma retires on 19 April, Zaidi will be the only member of the three-member poll watchdog.

Zaidi will have a tenure up to July, 2017 when he attains the age of 65.

An EC or a CEC has a tenure of six years in office or 65 years of age, whichever is earlier.

A 1976 batch IAS officer, Zaidi has worked in the Civil Aviation Ministry for a long time.

PTI

Nasim Zaidi set to become new Chief Election Commissioner

Highly-placed sources in the government on Wednesday said that the Law Ministry has cited convention of appointing the senior-most EC as the CEC.

Nasim Zaidi
File Photo
Image courtesy: Election Commission of India
Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi is set to become the next Chief Election Commissioner later this month. The Law Ministry has initiated the file to appoint the next CEC as present incumbent H S Brahma retires on April 19. Highly-placed sources in the government on Wednesday said that the Law Ministry has cited convention of appointing the senior-most EC as the CEC. Since Prime Minister Narendra Modi is leaving on a foreign tour tomorrow, there is sense of urgency to clear the paperwork on Wednesday as the file will travel to Rashtrapati Bhawan for the President to appoint the CEC.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> After Zaidi’s appointment, the government will set in motion the process to appoint two Election Commissioners to fill vacancies in the three-member body. “But as of now, we are appointing a new CEC. A decision on ECs will come later,” a senior government functionary said. After VS Sampath demitted office in January, Brahma was elevated as CEC. But the post which fell vacant after Brahma’s elevation has not been filled up so far. After Brahma retires on April 19, Zaidi will be the only member of the three-member poll watchdog. Zaidi will have a tenure up to July, 2017 when he attains the age of 65. An EC or a CEC has a tenure of six years in office or 65 years of age, whichever is earlier. A 1976 batch IAS officer, Zaidi has worked in the Civil Aviation Ministry for a long time. Also Read: Law panel bats for stronger Election Commission

Delhi polls: Kejriwal fears EVM tampering, wants banners outside booths

“We suspect EVM tampering. Tried to meet CEC yesterday. He was busy. Hope we will be able to meet him today. We urge CEC to allow us to put a banner outside each booth educating voters abt EVMs,” the AAP leader tweeted.

Aam Aadmi Party, which has been alleging that EVMs were being tampered with to favour BJP in February 7 Assembly election, today said they will urge the Election Commission to allow them to put banners outside polling booths educating the voters about the machines.”We urge CEC to allow us to put banners outside each booth educating voters abt EVMs,” AAP Chief Arvind Kejriwal said on micro-blogging site Twitter.”We suspect EVM tampering. Tried to meet CEC yesterday. He was busy. Hope we will be able to meet him today,” he said in another tweet.Kejriwal had claimed yesterday that discrepancies were found during an inspection of four such machines at Delhi Cantonment area yesterday. He alleged that whatever button was pressed on the machines, the light against the BJP symbol lit up.AAP leaders had also approached the Election Commission last week to know what is the procedure if a voter finds such a discrepancy in an EVM.”They told us that if a voter observes that he pressed the button of Party A and the bulb lit against Party B’s name. They should bring it to notice of the officers on duty. The problem will be cross checked and if the machine is found to be faulty, it will be sealed and replaced and if required re-polling will be held on particular booth,” Kejriwal had said.AAP leader Ashutosh today said the party wants to put these banners on polling booths to make the voters aware.Also read: Faulty EVMs excuse by AAP for losing in Delhi polls: BJP
“We have received some complaints and there is some apprehension in the minds of people. Since BJP is desperate and they don’t want to lose at any cost, they might resort to tampering.”Hence, we will approach EC today to allow us to put the banners so that voters know that if there are any such problems, what steps they are supposed to follow,” he told reporters.

Delhi assembly polls: Former top cop Kiran Bedi named BJP’s Chief Ministerial candidate

Making the announcement after a meetings of the BJP Parliamentary Board and the Central election Comimittee, party president Amit Shah said the decision to field 65-year-old Bedi was “unanimous”.

Brushing aside dissent within, BJP on Monday late night named new-entrant Kiran Bedi, a former IPS officer, as its Chief Ministerial candidate for the February seven Delhi Assembly elections and declared 62 of the 70 candidates.Making the announcement after a meetings of the BJP Parliamentary Board and the Central election Comimittee, party president Amit Shah said the decision to field 65-year-old Bedi was “unanimous”.He said BJP will contest the polls for the 70-member Assembly under Bedi’s leadership.She will contest from Krishna Nagar seat in East Delhi, considered a BJP stronghold and a traditional party seat from where Harshvardhan had contested last time.The Parliamentary Board and CEC meetings were attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj among others.”The BJP Parliamentary board has decided that Kiran Bedi will be BJP’s Chief Ministeerial face in Delhi Assembly polls.
As a police officer, she has won the confidence of people of Delhi and has been a known name against corruption and crime,” Shah said.”I am sure BJP under Kiran Bedi will fulfil the aspirations of people of Delhi. I am confident that Kiran Bedi’s leadership will ensure victory for BJP in the upcoming Delhi elections,” Shah said at a press conference after the meeting of the Parliamentary Board.
BJP General Secretary and Union Minister J P Nadda announced the names of 62 candidates finalised by the CEC.Prominent among those whose names have been declared include former Union Minister and Congress leader Krishna Tirath, who joined BJP earlier in the day. She will contest from Patel Nagar (SC) seat.Former Delhi minister Jagdish Mukhi will be in fray from Janakpuri and former Delhi BJP chief Vijendra Gupta from Rohini seat.Former DUSU president and party’s BJYM leader Nupur Sharma has been fielded from New Delhi constituency against AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal.Former Delhi Assembly Speaker M S Dheer, who switched to BJP from AAP, will contest from Jangpura and former AAP MLA Vinod Kumar Binny will contest from Patpargaj seat where he faces AAP leader Manish Sisodia.
Delhi’s former mayor Rajni Abby will contest from Timarpur seat.Nadda said party’s Delhi unit president Satish Upadhyay will not contest the polls as the elections will be contested under his stewardship and he has a lot of responsibility on him.”The party has taken care that all sections of society are given due representation.The party has renominated all its sitting MLAs and fielded over 20 youth and five women candidates.Against 12 SC seats, the party has fielded 13 dalit faces, Nadda said.

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