Over Rs 1,760 crores worth of freebies, drugs, cash, liquor and precious metals have been seized since the announcement of assembly elections in the five states of Mizoram, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Telangana, informed the Election Commission of India (ECI) on Monday.
Reportedly, this seizure is more than seven times (Rs. 239.15 Cr) the seizures made in previous Assembly Elections in these States in 2018.
The seizure figures from the ongoing elections in the five states and few previous state assembly elections demonstrate ECI’s unwavering commitment to ensuring free, fair and inducement free elections by implementing robust measures to monitor inducements and curb electoral malpractices for a level playing field.
This time the Commission has also embedded technology into the monitoring process through the Election Expenditure Monitoring System (ESMS) which is proving to be a catalyst, as it brought a wide array of Central and State enforcement agencies together for better coordination and intelligence sharing.
ESMS is an endeavour aimed at quick sharing of information by intercepting enforcement agencies to other relevant agencies. The platform facilitates real-time reporting, saves time in collecting and compiling reports from various agencies and better coordination.
The monitoring process started with visits of teams headed by Sr. DECs/DECs to poll-going States between June and August, wherein, interaction with enforcement agencies and districts was conducted with an aim to sensitize the participating field forces about the importance of expenditure monitoring and also to review their inputs for preparation for elections.
Subsequently, the Commission during the review in these states, emphasized on a zero-tolerance approach on checking flow of inducements to influence voters and multi-level actions by enforcement agencies which is reflected in the increase in seizure in these states.
The Commission also held reviews with Chief Secretaries, DGPs, Excise Commissioners, DG (Income Tax) and other senior officers of poll-going States and their respective neighbouring States and UTs.