There will be discussions on election campaign silence period, inclusion of media within the ambit of Section 126(1)(b) of the Representation of People Act 1951, etc.

 

The Election Commission (EC) has convened a meeting with all recognised national and state level political parties in the capital on Monday to discuss the preparedness for the upcoming state Assembly and Lok Sabha elections. Assembly elections are scheduled to be held in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Mizoram.

The agenda of the meeting includes discussion on fidelity of electoral rolls, and measures to improve their accuracy, transparency and inclusivity. All seven registered national political parties and 51 state political parties have been invited to participate in the meeting.

Considering that the political parties are important stakeholders in the Indian electoral system, the EC has been periodically holding consultation meetings with all recognised political parties to elicit their views on various important issues.

“As regards gender representation in political parties and comparative international experience, the EC would invite views on measures that political parties can undertake to encourage enhanced representation of women within the organisational structure of the political party, as well as in candidate selection for contesting elections to legislative bodies,” an EC statement said.

On the issue of election expenditure regulation, issues related to Expenditure Ceiling for Legislative Council Elections and Limiting Political Party Expenditure would be discussed during the meeting. There will also be discussion on enforcement measures to ensure timely submission of annual audited reports and election expenditure reports.

There will be discussion on election campaign silence period, inclusion of print media within the ambit of Section 126(1)(b) of the Representation of People Act 1951 and issue of online canvassing to promote or prejudice the electoral prospects of a party/candidate on social media during the last 48 hours before conclusion of polling.

Important issues related to conduct of election, like alternative modes of voting for domestic migrants and absentee voters, views and feedback of political parties regarding the operation of the Electronically Transmitted Postal Ballot System (ETPBS), views and feedback of political parties regarding efforts to encourage electoral participation of voters with disabilities, will also be discussed during the meeting.

“Views and feedback of political parties regarding the Commission’s efforts to expand outreach and encourage broad-based, inclusive electoral participation will also be invited,” the EC statement said.

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