Polling was conducted peacefully in1,53,538 Polling Stations spread across 475Assembly Constituenciestoday, in the states of Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and for third phase of Assam and West Bengal. The number of Polling Stations has increased in view of the fact that the number of voters per polling station has been reduced from 1500 to 1000 keeping social distancing norms in view.

To ensure inclusive and accessible elections, ECI has extended the option of postal ballot facility to PwDs, Senior Citizensabove the age of 80 years, COVID-19 suspect or affected persons and persons employed in essentialservices. The Observers at the ground level oversaw that proper arrangements for facilitation were made available for these voters.

As per standard procedure all these EVMs and VVPATs had already undergone First Level Checking, Randomisation, and Commissioning in the presence of Political Parties/Candidates agents. During FLC and during commissioning each of these EVMs and VVPATs had undergone mock polls. Today before the start of the poll each of the EVMs and VVPATs again underwent a mock poll in the presence of polling agents of the candidates with minimum 50 votes cast on each, as per standard procedure. At the end of the mock poll the result of EVM were matched with the result of VVPAT slips and shown to the polling agents. Non-functioning rate during the mock poll is lesser than comparable / experienced in last few polls.

During the ongoing elections till this phase,a record seizure of Rs. 947.98 Crore has already been achieved from the five states as on April 6, 2021. The seizure figure, which includes seizure of cash, liquor, narcotics, freebies etc., is more than 4.198 times higher than the total combined seizure of Rs. 225.77 Crore in GE LA 2016. The Commission has been laying specific emphasis on inducement free elections and curbing the malaise of undue money power, liquor, freebies. For effective monitoring a total 4606 Flying Squads (FS) and 4670 Static Surveillance Teams (SST) were operationalised to check movement of cash, liquor, drugs & freebies in these states/UT closely supervised by DEOs, Expenditure observers in Districts and Special observers. A total 19 Air Intelligence Units (AIU) of IT Department are also set at different stations in Assam, West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Puducherry.

Election Commission of India’s cVIGIL App is a citizen centric mobile application which empowers people to report cases of MCC violations in real time basis, with auto populated details of location and responded within 100 minutes after verification at field level. A total number of about 187146 cases of Model Code of Conduct violations were reported through the cVIGIL app out of which 186647 cases were disposed as of today (4:00 PM)

On polling stations across five states, assured Minimum Facilities (AMF) like drinking water, waiting shed, toilet with water facility, adequate arrangements for lighting, ramp of appropriate gradient for wheelchair for PwD electors and a standard voting compartment etc. were made available at all the Polling Stations. Arrangements like transport facility, volunteers assisting Persons with Disability and senior citizens were present at the Polling Stations.

All the Polling Stations followed COVID-19 Safety protocols. For the safety of the voters and the election officials it was ensured that the Polling Stations were sanitized one day prior to poll and facility of thermal scanning, hand sanitisers, face masks were also made available at the Polling Stations. Proper arrangements for social distancing were put in place. BLOs and volunteers monitored and regulated strict compliance of social distancing norms at the Polling Stations. At the last hour of poll, polling was conducted in full COVID-19 protective gear, with proper COVID-19 protocols and supervision of health authorities.The Commission has laid great emphasis on ensuring transparent and vigilant mechanism for COVID safe, intimidation free and inducement free elections amidst tight security arrangements. Polling across ACs was conducted under strict security arrangements.

Election Commission has laid out an elaborate security plan to ensure smooth and safe conduct of elections. Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) along with the local police force have been deployed to ensure peaceful, intimidation free and conducive atmosphere for the smooth conduct of elections in a free, fair, inclusive and accessible manner. Route marches in vulnerable pockets, regular point patrolling and other Confidence Building Measures were carried out to reassure voters, especially those belonging to the weaker sections of society.

Election Commission of India expresses gratitude to all stakeholders specially the voters for their enthusiastic and fearless participation in the election process today. Commission particularly thanks PwD electors, senior citizens, service voters for taking part in elections honoring COVID protocol norms. ECI also recognizes the services of the entire electoral machinery including polling staff on duty, security personnel, supervisory staff, Observers, Special Observers railway authorities, enforcement agencies as also the Health authorities for making comprehensive arrangements and dedicatedly working towards successful conduct of free, fair, transparent and safe elections despite pandemic. The Commission solicits active cooperation, close collaboration and constructive partnership from all stakeholders including media for delivering smooth and peaceful elections.

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