5-phase Jharkhand polls on MHA report: CEC

Ranchi (IANS) Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora on Thursday said that the five-phase polls in Jharkhand have been scheduled based on the Home Ministry's report and officials' feedback.

"The Home Ministry this year in February 5 report says that the 19 of the 24 districts of Jharkhand are Left Wing Maoist-affected. The home ministry released Rs 775 crore for Maoist-affected districts of the country and RS 340 crore was released for Jharkhand," said Arora at a press conference.

When asked about the central government statement in Parliament Maoist activities have declined by 45 per cent in Jharkhand, he said: "We go by written documents which is in public domain and feedback of the officials. The officials' feedback was that the Maoists could use new tactics and new ways to obstruct polls. Same was the feedback in Chhattisgarh but the polling was more than 70 per cent."

When asked about Union Minister of Forests and Environment Prakash Javadekar announcing withdrawal of the draft of the amendment of the Forest Act to remove any misgivings about taking away the rights of the tribals and forest dwellers, he said "We have sought a report on this issue".

The CEC said that the VVPAT will be used at all the 29,464 polling booths in the election. The Election Commission has made arrangements for postal ballots in six districts for differently-abled and voters aged over 80. The EC has also appointed special observers for poll expenditures.

Asked about some parties' concern over NGO funding, he said "The officials have been asked to take the issue on a case by case basis."

On foreign funding in polls he said "The foreign funding is done under FCRA and there is a law to regulate it."

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