ECI Seizes Record Rs. 4650 Crores in Inducements During 2024 Lok Sabha Elections

  • Enforcement Agencies Crack Down: Rs. 100 Crore Seized Daily Since March 1st
  • Seizure Amount Surpasses Total from 2019 Polls Before First Phase Begins
  • ECI is set to achieve the highest-ever inducement seizures in 75 years of Lok Sabha elections.

New Delhi: With the General Elections of 2024 in progress, the Election Commission of India (ECI) is on track to achieve the highest-ever seizures of inducements recorded in the 75-year history of Lok Sabha elections in the country.

Enforcement agencies have seized over Rs. 4650 crores in the ECI’s determined fight against money power even before the first phase of polling for the 18th Lok Sabha elections begins on Friday. This marks a significant increase over the Rs. 3475 crores seized during the entire Lok Sabha election in 2019.

Notably, 45% of the seizures are of drugs and narcotics, which are under the special focus of the Commission. These seizures have been made possible through comprehensive planning, enhanced collaboration, and unified deterrence actions from agencies, proactive citizen participation, and optimal use of technology.

The use of black money, in addition to political financing and accurate disclosure thereof, has the potential to disrupt the level playing field in favor of more resourceful parties or candidates in specific regions.

The seizures are a crucial part of the ECI’s commitment to conducting the Lok Sabha elections free of inducements and electoral malpractices, ensuring a level playing field. CEC Shri Rajiv Kumar, while announcing the polls last month, highlighted Money Power as one of the ‘4M’ challenges.

The Commission, led by CEC Rajiv Kumar along with ECs Gyanesh Kumar and Sukhbir Singh Sandhu, reviewed all Central Observers deployed in Phase-1 of elections scheduled for April 19th, focusing on tightening, monitoring, and checking to ensure an inducement-free electoral process.

The increased seizures reflect the ECI’s unwavering commitment to monitor inducements and curb electoral malpractices to create a ‘level playing field,’ particularly for smaller and less resourceful parties.

In an incident in Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu, the Commission suspended the flying squad team leader for laxity in duty and selective checking of a cavalcade of a prominent leader. Similarly, officials checked vehicles in the convoy of a Chief Minister of a state and also the vehicle of a Deputy Chief Minister in another state.

The Commission has also taken strict action against approximately 106 government servants who were found assisting politicians in campaigning, thereby violating the Code of Conduct and instructions.

During the press briefing announcing the Parliamentary elections, CEC Rajiv Kumar stressed the strict compliance with BCAS instructions on surveillance and inspection of non-scheduled aircraft and helicopters by Income Tax, airport authorities, and SPs of concerned districts.

Border agencies were instructed to keep a close watch on international checkposts, and GST authorities were asked to closely monitor godowns, especially makeshift godowns meant for storing freebies.

The Commission has emphasized multi-pronged surveillance on all modes of transport – check posts and nakas for road transport, Coast guard for coastal routes, and DMs and SPs alongside agencies for air routes, including checking of helicopters and non-scheduled flights.

The Election Seizure Management System (ESMS), breaking silos and bringing all enforcement agencies onto one platform through the use of technology, has been a game-changer.

With the introduction of technology in the monitoring process, ESMS, an ECI in-house developed portal, has proved to be a catalyst. The portal facilitates digital trails and availability of seizure information at the click of a mouse, enabling quick and timely reviews at all controlling levels.

As per data, 6398 District nodal officers of various agencies, 734 state nodal officers, and 59000 flying squads (FS) and Static Surveillance Teams (SST) have been onboarded on the ESMS platform for exhaustive real-time monitoring and updates. All nodal officials have been trained on various aspects of using ESMS. The system took firm root during the Assembly elections in 2023, when Rs. 2014.26 crores was seized as against Rs. 239.35 crores in the previous corresponding elections.

With successful implementation and feedback from the field in the last round of assembly elections, it has been reviewed and made robust before implementation in the ongoing elections.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *