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LS & Assembly polls: ECI appoints Special Observers in 6 states

Election Commission on Tuesday appointed Special Observers in six states to provide critical feedback and vigilant oversight for a level playing field during the upcoming Lok Sabha and assembly polls. The states are West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Bihar where the population is more than seven crores along with Andhra Pradesh and Odisha where the simultaneous elections to the assemblies are to be held. Special Observers appointed are former civil servants with a brilliant track record of domain expertise and past experience with election processes, it added.
The Special Observers have been entrusted with the crucial task of supervising the randomization of personnel, security forces, and voting machines, thereby preventing any attempts to subvert the democratic process and ensuring a level playing field.  They will station themselves at the State headquarters and if needed to the areas where sensitivity is high or necessary coordination is required. They will also seek inputs and coordinate with Regional Heads and Nodal Officers of various agencies involved in monitoring activities.  
The Special Observers will have a special focus in border areas and work on border sensitivities in plugging the inflow of inducements. The Commission has also deployed Special Expenditure Observers in  Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha to clamp down on money power in elections and strengthen the existing election expenditure monitoring. The Special Observers appointed are former civil servants with a brilliant track record of domain expertise and past experience with election processes.
Retired 1988-batch IAS officer of Rajasthan cadre Manjit Singh and ex-IPS from 1981 batch Vivek Dube will be watching over the poll process in Bihar.Ex-IAS officer Dharmendra S. Gangwar and 1988 batch IPS officer N K Mishra will be deployed in Maharashtra; while retired IAS officer Ajay V Nayak and ex-IPS officer Manmohan Singh will be the eyes and ears of the commission in UP.1987-batch IAS officer Ram Mohan Mishra and retired IPS officer Deepak Mishra will be stationed in Andhra Pradesh, while ex-IAS Yogendra Tripathi and retired IPS officer Rajnikant Mishra will handle the charge in Odisha.Alok Sinha, ex-IAS, and Anil Kumar Sharma, IPS (Retd.) will watch over polls in West Bengal.
Ex-officers of Indian Revenue Service (IRS) who have been appointed as special expenditures observers to curb rampant use of moneypower in five states include Rajesh Tuteja in Uttar Pradesh; Himalini Kashyap in Odisha; B Murali Kumar in Karnataka; Neena Nigam in Andhra Pradesh; and B R Balakrishnan in Tamil Nadu.

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