Preparations underway for simultaneous polls in Odisha

Bhubaneswar: Preparations for the upcoming simultaneous elections have begun in Odisha as a crucial meeting of administrative officials, Police and Excise departments was held today to chalk out strategies. Additional chief secretary (home), police DG, Excise and Crime Branch officials attended the meeting held at the office of the Odisha Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of the State.

“The preparations for simultaneous elections have begun and an orientation programme was organised today. Several aspects including law and order and smooth conduct of the elections in a free and fair manner were discussed,” said Additional chief secretary (home), Asit Tripathy.

Tripathy further informed that all the standard operating procedures (SOPs) as per the guidelines of the Election Commission of India will be duly followed.

Official sources said various issues including poll expenditure management, model code of conduct, vulnerability mapping and law and order aspects were discussed today. “At the preliminary meeting various issues pertaining to enforcement activities by Police and Excise departments were discussed. The basic purpose was to discuss the challenges and issues which could arise during pre-poll, polling and post poll phases,” said Police DG, RP Sharma.

Sharma further informed that adequate training will be provided to police officers and a vulnerability mapping and booth management in naxal-affected areas of the State will be carried out after reviewing the current status. Special arrangements will be made to check movement of cash during the polls.

Chief Electoral Officer of Odisha, Surendra Kumar informed that the objective of the meeting is to sensitise officers regarding various standard operating procedures that need to be followed during pre-election, polling and post-poll scenario.

“Various teams including video surveillance and static teams will be constituted and emphasis will be laid on ensuring that the elections are held in a free and fair manner. Besides, focus will also be on checking distribution of cash and liquor,” said Kumar.

Kumar further informed that through the Cvigil app, people can also report incidents along with pictures and videos and appropriate action will be taken as per law after field inquiry.