Flying squads to oversee elections in northeastern states

Agartala, Jan 17 (IANS) The Election Commission will constitute flying-squads to check illegal arms, distribution of money and other unlawful materials in Meghalaya, Nagaland and Tripura where assembly polls are due next month, an official said here Thursday.

"A magistrate will head the flying-squad in each assembly segment to check illegal arms, distribution of money, liquor and other unlawful materials," a poll panel official told IANS.

The Election Commission will also deploy observers in each district of the election-bound states.

"...Police and micro observers will be appointed for each district to monitor whether candidates are exceeding stipulated limit of expenditure, violating any Election Commission model code of conduct and causing any ethnic or law and order problem," the official said.

The observers' names, addresses and telephone numbers would be published in local newspapers so that people can approach them in case they have any grievances.

"For greater transparency and for monitoring of election expenses, each candidate would be required to open a separate bank account and incur their election expenses from that very account," the official added.

The official said that a Static Surveillance Team (SST), led by the district magistrate, would also be constituted in each assembly segment to monitor the election process.

All the district magistrates in the three poll-bound states have already directed the fire arm owners to deposit their weapons by Jan 31.

Tripura will go to polls Feb 14 to elect its new state assembly, while elections for the state assemblies of Meghalaya as well as Nagaland will take place Feb 23. The votes will be counted Feb 28.

The assemblies in Meghalaya, Tripura and Nagaland have 60 seats each and their five-year terms will expire March 10, March 16 and March 26, respectively.

The formal notification inviting nominations for the polls would be issued in Tripura Jan 21, while the notifications in Nagaland and Meghalaya would be issued Jan 30.

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