Bharat Express

Election Commission of India Records Historic High in Seizures Ahead of LS Elections

ECI announced on Monday that it is set to register the “highest ever seizures of inducements” in the history of Lok Sabha elections.

The Election Commission of India (ECI) announced on Monday that it is set to register the “highest ever seizures of inducements” in the history of Lok Sabha elections. Prior to the commencement of the first phase of polling, enforcement agencies had already confiscated a staggering ₹4,650 crore, marking a substantial increase compared to the ₹3,475 crores seized throughout the entire Lok Sabha election in 2019, according to the poll body’s release.

The Election Commission highlighted that these heightened seizures underscore its steadfast dedication to monitoring inducements and curbing electoral malpractices, ensuring a fair and transparent electoral process. Particularly, the Commission emphasized its commitment to fostering a ‘level playing field’, especially for smaller and less financially resourceful parties.

Of notable significance is the fact that 45% of the seizures comprise drugs and narcotics, an area of special focus for the Commission. The success in confiscations has been attributed to comprehensive planning, enhanced collaboration among agencies, proactive citizen involvement, and optimal utilization of technology.

The Commission also divulged state-wise data, showcasing the distribution of seized inducements. Rajasthan emerged at the forefront with approximately ₹778 crore seized, followed by Gujarat with ₹605 crore, and Maharashtra with around ₹431 crore.

Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Rajiv Kumar, during the announcement of the polls last month, underscored “Money Power” as one of the ‘4M’ challenges, alongside “money, muscle, misinformation, and Model Code of Conduct violations”.

The Commission’s statement reiterated concerns regarding the use of black money, emphasizing its potential to skew the level playing field in favor of more financially endowed parties or candidates in specific regions.

On April 12, the poll panel, consisting of CEC Rajiv Kumar and election commissioners Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu, conducted an assessment of all Central Observers deployed for Phase 1 of the elections scheduled for April 19. Discussions centred on tightening monitoring mechanisms to ensure an inducement-free electoral process.

The increased seizures stand as a testament to the ECI’s resolute commitment to monitoring inducements and combating electoral malpractices, thereby upholding the integrity of the electoral process and fostering fairness for all stakeholders, particularly smaller political entities.

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