Election Commission of India Records Highest Ever Seizures of Inducements

Election Commission of India Records Highest Ever Seizures of Inducements

CEC Shri Rajiv Kumar highlighted "Money Power" as one of the major challenges 

Election Commission of India

As the 2024 Lok Sabha elections unfold, the Election Commission of India (ECI) achieves a significant milestone with the highest-ever seizures of inducements in the country's electoral history.

Record Seizures

Enforcement agencies, in their fight against money power, have confiscated over Rs 4,650 crores even before the commencement of the first phase of polling for the 18th Lok Sabha elections. This marks a substantial rise compared to the Rs 3,475 crores seized during the entire 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

A notable aspect is that 45% of the seizures comprise drugs and narcotics, which are under special scrutiny by the Commission. The success is attributed to comprehensive planning, enhanced collaboration among agencies, proactive citizen involvement, and the effective utilization of technology. Last month, CEC Shri Rajiv Kumar highlighted "Money Power" as one of the four major challenges during the announcement of the polls.

Key Initiatives

The Election Seizure Management System (ESMS), an in-house developed portal by ECI, has played a pivotal role in breaking silos among enforcement agencies and facilitating real-time reporting of seizures. Thousands of officials have been trained to use ESMS, ensuring exhaustive real-time monitoring and updates. The system's effectiveness was tested and refined during the previous round of Assembly elections. 

During a press briefing about the upcoming Parliamentary elections, CEC Shri Rajiv Kumar emphasized the importance of following BCAS instructions for monitoring non-scheduled aircraft and helicopters. He highlighted the need for various authorities such as Income Tax, airport officials, district SPs, border agencies, and GST authorities to closely monitor different checkpoints and storage facilities to prevent any misuse or illegal activities. The Commission stressed the importance of comprehensive surveillance across all modes of transportation, including roads, coastal routes, and air routes, to ensure the integrity of the electoral process.

Enhanced Vigilance

Senior officials from the Election Commission conducted thorough reviews across states and union territories, emphasizing the importance of combating financial influence in elections. Field-level personnel are subject to ongoing reviews, encouraging a collaborative approach among agencies to deter electoral malpractices effectively.

Chief Election Commissioner Shri Rajiv Kumar emphasized the significance of seizing drugs and narcotics, considering their potential social harm, particularly to youth. The Commission has partnered with the Directorate General of the Narcotics Control Bureau to identify key trafficking routes and implement effective countermeasures. 

Before the official announcement, during January and February, there were nationwide seizures amounting to Rs 7,502 crores, including cash, liquor, drugs, precious metals, and freebies. This adds up to a total seizure of over Rs 12,000 crores thus far, with six weeks remaining until the end of the election period.

In recent years, substantial seizures have occurred during State Assembly elections, particularly during the enforcement of the Model Code of Conduct in states such as Gujarat, Punjab, Manipur, Nagaland, Tripura, and Mizoram.

The significant seizures reflect the ECI's unwavering commitment to conducting free and fair elections, ensuring a level playing field for all parties and candidates.

Source: The Times Of India

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