Flying squads to check doles

Agartala, Jan. 17: The Election Commission has initiated special measures ahead of the Assembly polls here to check attempts by political parties to woo voters by offering bribes and other incentives.

"Flying squads" and "static surveillance teams" are being formed in all 60 Assembly constituencies, each to be headed by a magistrate along with police escort.

Tripura chief electoral officer Ashutosh Jindal told reporters last night that the teams were meant to check corrupt practices by political parties to influence voters.

"The district magistrates will constitute the flying squads and static surveillance teams by tomorrow and submit the lists to the election department," he said.

"No vehicle engaged in election work will be allowed to carry cash in excess of Rs 50,000 and no movement or transportation of drugs and other commodities will be permitted," he said, adding that if anyone carried large amounts of cash for purposes unrelated to polls, he must produce his PAN card, a copy of his bank passbook and other identification documents.

Jindal also held meetings this afternoon with chief secretary S.K. Panda, director-general of police S.K. Sinha and other senior police officers to review security-related issues as well as other preparations for the polls.

He said the state would have 3,018 polling stations, adding that one polling booth would be set up for every 1,200 voters. He said strong rooms for storing electronic voting machines would be set up in 23 sub-divisional headquarters.

Jindal, however, denied receiving any complaint against chief minister Manik Sarkar for violation of the electoral code of conduct.

Congress spokesperson Ashok Sinha, while expressing surprise over the denial, said he had sent it to Jindal by fax and had also received confirmation over phone.

He said he would send a fresh complaint today.

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