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Record Seizures in Election Crackdown: ECI’s Vigilance Efforts Ramp Up

New Delhi: As the General Elections 2024 gather momentum, the Election Commission of India (ECI) is setting new records in its crackdown on inducements, marking a historic milestone in the nation’s electoral history. Enforcement agencies have seized a staggering amount exceeding Rs. 4650 crores, showcasing the ECI’s unwavering resolve against the influence of money power in elections. This figure represents a significant surge compared to the Rs. 3475 crores seized during the entire Lok Sabha election in 2019.

Notably, 45% of the seizures consist of drugs and narcotics, indicating the special attention these items have received from the Commission. The increased seizures are attributed to comprehensive planning, enhanced collaboration among enforcement agencies, active citizen participation, and the effective utilization of technology.

CEC Rajiv Kumar, during the announcement of the election schedule last month, highlighted Money Power as one of the ‘4M’ challenges faced by the electoral process. In a recent review meeting led by CEC Rajiv Kumar, along with ECs Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu, a focused approach on tightening monitoring and enforcement measures was emphasized to ensure an inducement-free electoral process.

The heightened seizures reflect the ECI’s commitment to conducting elections devoid of inducements and malpractices, thus ensuring a level playing field, especially for smaller and less resourceful parties.

In a recent incident in Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu, the Commission took swift action by suspending the flying squad team leader for laxity in duty and selective checking of a prominent leader’s cavalcade. Additionally, approximately 106 government servants found assisting politicians in campaigning have faced strict disciplinary action for violating the Code of Conduct.

The ECI’s robust approach to surveillance and enforcement is evident through the Election Seizure Management System (ESMS), which has played a pivotal role in breaking silos and bringing all enforcement agencies onto one platform. ESMS, an in-house developed portal, enables real-time reporting of interceptions and seizures, thereby streamlining coordination and avoiding duplication of efforts.

Moreover, meticulous planning and involvement of a wide array of enforcement agencies from both the central and state levels have bolstered the Commission’s efforts. Senior officials from the ECI have conducted extensive visits to every state and union territory, emphasizing the importance of combating the influence of money in elections.

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