Seizures in Karnataka increased more than four times as compared to 2018 polls, says Election Commission

9 May, 2023 | Pragati Singh

Election Commission National

Wednesday, have increased by 4.5 times since the Assembly Election in 2018, according to the Election Commission of India.

Seizures in Karnataka, which goes to the polls on Wednesday, have increased by 4.5 times since the Assembly Election in 2018, according to the Election Commission of India. “Strict vigil, extensive monitoring, coordination with neighbouring states and inter-agency coordination has led to checking flow and distribution of inducements in Karnataka this time,” ECI said in a statement.

“During the visit to Karnataka in the second week of March, the Commission has exhaustively reviewed the preparations which included extensive reviews and preparations of coordinated functioning of enforcement agencies, both Central and State. The Commission also had detailed reviews of district heads and SPs of the above poll-going states.

While announcing the schedule for Karnataka Assembly Elections, 2023, Chief Election Commissioner, Rajiv Kumar stressed on increased vigil and zero tolerance on distribution of inducements during the electoral process. He remarked that the Commission has significantly raised the bar for ensuring inducement-free elections and the continuum of stepping up of efforts and increase in seizures witnessed during recently held Assembly Elections in five States, would continue,” the statement read.

“As a drive, the results are encouraging with Karnataka witnessing seizures of Rs. 375.61 crore during enforcement of the Model Code of Conduct period which is nearly 4.5 times the seizures made in Assembly Elections, 2018. Additionally, from the date of the visit of the Commission in the second week of March 2023 till the date of the announcement of elections, seizures of Rs 83.78 crores were also made by various enforcement agencies. Enforcement Directorate has also attached assets amounting to Rs 288 Crores after the imposition of MCC,” it added.

“The extensive monitoring process started months back before the announcement of elections and includes a host of activities like a thorough review of the preparation of different stakeholders including enforcement agencies, DEOs/SPs, the appointment of experienced officers as Expenditure Observers, sensitizing and inter-agency coordination & monitoring and adequate availability of field level teams. 146 Expenditure Observers were deployed and 81 Assembly Constituencies were marked as Expenditure Sensitive Constituencies for the stricter vigil,” the letter read.

“The Commission also reviewed the law and order situation and inter-state vigil through border check posts of poll-going Karnataka and neighbouring states of Maharashtra, Goa, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Tamil Nadu on May 1, 2023. The review was attended by Chief Secretaries, DGPs, Excise Commissioners and regional Heads of prominent enforcement agencies of all these bordering States. On the occasion, CEC Shri Rajiv Kumar again stressed proper manning and monitoring of specifically the 185 check posts in border districts,” it read further.

EC Anup Chandra Pandey also emphasised the importance of improving illicit liquor seizures, taking action against kingpins, and preventing liquor stockpiling at the review meeting.

However, EC Shri Arun Goel has directed officials to increase vigilance without causing inconvenience to the public and to conduct thorough post-seizure operations. Seizures of cash, spirits, drugs, precious metals and freebies from such border checkpoints have been reported to be worth more than Rs 70 crores.

The Karnataka assembly will vote on wednesday, and the votes will be counted on thursday.