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GPS to keep watch on ‘truant’ flying squads during election

Technology will ensure that ‘flying squads’ mandated to prevent malpractices do not turn a blind eye to complaints of electoral malpractices and reach the trouble spots without making excuses during the assembly polls to five states.

All vehicles allotted to ‘flying squads’ will be equipped with GPS devices amid mounting complaints that these mobile teams often deliberately avoid reaching trouble spots.

While GPS (global positioning system) will allow the Election Commission keep track of vehicles allotted to flying squads and mobile teams, personnel of central police forces in these will ensure action is taken against those indulging in malpractices to favour a particular political party or candidate.

“All flying squads and mobile teams will have central police forces travelling with them. All mobile teams and flying squads will have GPS in the vehicles so that their movements are tracked,” chief election commissioner Nasim Zaidi said.

He said there have been charges “that when a complaint is made to the flying squad, instead of going to the real destination, they go to other destinations to let people commit whatever they want to commit. Therefore, this GPS will track them down. The Commission will ensure it.”

The CEC also said the central police forces will be deployed well in advance for area domination, route marches in vulnerable pockets, point patrolling and other confidence building measures to reassure the voters and build faith among them, especially those belonging to the weaker sections and minorities.

Seeking to bolster the confidence of the voters belonging to vulnerable sections especially SC and STs, central and state armed police forces will be used to patrol such areas under the supervision of the central observers.

In the Left wing extremist dominated areas, central forces will be inducted well in time for undertaking area familiarization, he said. Assembly elections in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Assam and union territory of Puducherry will be held between April 4 and May 16, spread over 43 days. It will be a single-day polling in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry on May 16, while it will be in six phases in West Bengal and two in Assam.

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