Chennai: The Election Commission of India, which is being criticised heavily for failing to curb rampant use of money power during the April 12 by-election that was rescinded, is unwilling to take any chances this time around. The ECI is now mulling appointing four more poll observers to check electoral malpractices taking the number of such officers to nine, an all-time high in the history of a bypoll.
Observers designated to RK Nagar will start sending their confidential reports from December 7. Local poll officials have been instructed to monitor the activities of state ministers, elected MLAs and political functionaries of opposition parties and feed the data to the observers, a public election department official said.
"So far four observers have arrived in Chennai and one more observer will arrive next week. Besides the five of them, four more observers directly reporting to ECI will be deployed once the campaign intensifies", an official said. During the cancelled April bypoll there were five observers reporting to EC and this time four more officers will assist EC to ensure a free and fair poll in high profile RK Nagar that became vacant after the demise of late CM J. Jayalalithaa, election department sources said.
"Most of the observers are from north India and they do not know the political dimensions of RK Nagar. To guide them and keep them posted about the campaign trail in RK Nagar, local revenue officials will be roped in. Besides, the observers will also have access to police inputs through police observers. Soon the observers will be allocated individual offices at state guest house and the voters and public can also lodge their complaints directly to the observers", public election department official added.