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Robust strategy to prevent use of money, drugs in 2017 Punjab polls: CEC

6With the drug menace becoming a huge issue in Punjab elections, the Election Commission on Tuesday said a robust strategy will be prepared to prevent use of money, drugs and liquor in the assembly polls.
The CEC said all efforts will be made for conduct of free, fair and peaceful elections in Punjab.
“The suggestions given by (opposition) parties have been taken note of by the EC with all sincerity and we have assured we will leave no stone unturned for conduct of free, fair and peaceful elections,” chief election commissioner Naseem Zaidi said addressing a press conference here.
“We want to conduct the elections in a totally neutral and unbiased manner,” he stressed.
On concerns raised by various parties regarding use of drugs and liquor during Punjab polls to influence voters, Zaidi said, “Robust strategy will be prepared to prevent use of money, drugs and liquor”.
Replying to a question, the CEC asserted that “The Commission is committed to prevent use of drugs in polls. The Commission is ready to tackle the issue of drugs during poll process.”
Zaidi also said that various parties have sought “overhauling” of the police and civil administration in the State.
A delegation of various parties including Congress and AAP had met a team of Election Commission led by Chief Election Commissioner here two days back.
A nine-member Election Commission had arrived here on Sunday on a three-day visit to review preparations ahead of polls which are due early next year.
About the issues raised by the parties, Zaidi said “political parties want polls be conducted in free and fair manner.”
He said the parties want the Election Commission to take steps to ensure that voters do not face any kind of any threat or intimidation.
“They (opposition parties) have requested that there should be overhaul of police and civil administration for free and fair polls,” he said, adding these parties have brought to notice the large number of criminals and anti-social elements, who may be operative in the system or out on parole.
Parties have also highlighted abuse of liquor, money and drug problem. They have requested that there should be special task force to check these during poll process, the CEC said.

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