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Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) has now directed the state government to seek a declaration from the officials, whose relatives are contesting the elections and ordered removing of officials who are posted for more than three years at the same place.
The CEC has also directed the state police to identify the officials within 24 hours who were at the same place during the 2012 assembly polls and they should be removed within 24 hours.  The announcement was made by CEC, Nasim Zaidi, here on Thursday evening after winding up his two days review meeting with the state officials to assess the poll preparedness for the third and fourth phase of elections in 24 districts on February 19 and 23.
Maintaining that there was enough scope for improvement in the official machinery for smooth conduct of the elections, the CEC addressing a press conference, however, could not reply why the Commission was so late in taking decisions which could have an adverse impact on the free and fair polls in the state.
Over the demand for removal of the state DGP Javeed Ahmed and chief secretary Rahul Bhatnagar by BJP and some other political parties, Zaidi just said ,” we have taken cognizance about the complaint.” But the CEC did not say anything on the fate of the DGP or CS on repeated questions by the scribes. The CEC announced that five excise officials who were deployed on the interstate border have been suspended for failing to check infiltration of illegal liquor from other states while for the first time commercial taxes department sleuths comprising 150 teams have seized domestic appliances, which were meant to be distributed among the voters by the candidates.
During the two days visit, the full Election Commission which included CEC and two election commissioners, met the representatives of the political parties, held meetings with the enforcement agencies, held a review meeting with the district officials of the 24 districts and later met the DGP and CS. After addressing the press, the EC team returned back to New Delhi later on Thursday night. “We have assessed the poll preparation and directed the districts and the officials to streamline the system for better management and coordination of the poll process,” Zaidi, an UP cadre IAS official said while adding that the direction given were to strengthen the single window system to provide permission to the candidates and political parties on different things. “We have also asked the UP government to take declaration from the officials whose relatives are contesting the polls so that they cannot influence the polls, besides no officials who are posted at a place for more than 3 years should be kept there while officials who were posted at the same place in 2012 and again at the same place this time should be removed immediately.
The CEC said that there is no need for covering of the elephants and the statues in Lucknow like it was done in 2012 after a court ruling while added that the officials of Shamli and other districts, where there were reports of exodus, were directed to provide adequate security to the migrants who want to cast their votes.
Zaidi said that the central forces in adequate numbers have been deployed in the first and second phase of polling on February 11 and 15 in western UP for a free and fair polls and these  forces are presently being used for flag marches to instill confidence among the voters.  He said that on polling day, voters who reaches the polling booth at 5pm, will be allowed to cast their votes while  all the employees of private firm or in any other place would get paid holiday.


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