Ahead Of Polls, Election Body's Workshop With Facebook To Check Fake News

Chief Election Commissioner OP Rawat, however, did not specify when the workshop would be organised.

Ahead Of Polls, Election Body's Workshop With Facebook To Check Fake News

The workshop would be held to discuss efforts to prevent the misuse of social media during polls. (File)


The Election Commission (EC) has proposed to hold a workshop with Facebook officials on preventing the misuse of social media platforms during polls, Chief Election Commissioner OP Rawat said in Hyderabad today.

Addressing a press conference on the concluding day of an EC team's three-day visit to poll-bound Telangana, he also said the commission had directed officials to address the issues of alleged discrepancies and bogus voters in the electoral rolls and rectify them after field visits.

Elections to the 119-member Telangana assembly will be held on December 7.

During its visit, the 11-member EC team headed by OP Rawat reviewed the poll preparedness in the state and held meetings with political parties, during which the Congress alleged that there were nearly 70 lakh discrepancies in the voters' list, while the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) complained about the presence of "bogus" voters in the list.

The EC team expressed satisfaction over the poll preparedness in the southern state.

On the proposed workshop, OP Rawat said it would be held to discuss efforts to prevent the misuse of social media during elections.

"Before leaving for Hyderabad, I had a meeting with a Facebook team in Delhi and we are going to organise a workshop with them to further strengthen these arrangements (to prevent the misuse of social media) so that we can prevent any adverse impact on these elections. Not only these elections, even the Lok Sabha elections," he said.

The CEC, however, did not specify when the workshop would be organised.

On the Congress's allegation over the voter list, OP Rawat said poll officials were instructed to carry out ground-level verification, along with representatives of political parties.

"As I have already pointed out, there are voters who are in multiple entries because they move from one place to another. There are others whose family members have not applied through Form 7 to delete names in case of deaths," he added.

OP Rawat further said therefore, the EC took steps to prepare the electoral rolls and keep them on a digital platform.

Besides Telangana, Assembly elections are scheduled to be held in Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and Mizoram between November 12 and December 7.

Complying with Supreme Court directions, the poll panel had issued a modified format of affidavit, to be filled in by the candidates and political parties, disclosing their criminal antecedents, OP Rawat said, adding that it should be publicised through the media.

He said accessibility observers, besides general, expenditure and police observers, will be appointed for the first time in the coming Assembly elections.

The CEC further said suspicious money transactions through banking channels were being monitored and air intelligence units of the Income Tax department were set up at all the airports in the state.

Replying to a query on the rate of convictions on poll-related offences, OP Rawat said it was low in Telangana for a variety of reasons, though all over the country, it was high.

He said the officials concerned were instructed to take appropriate action on such cases.

OP Rawat said central forces would be deployed as per requirement and inter-state meetings will be held with the bordering states.

The EC is looking into a complaint related to advertisements being released by a neighbouring state government, highlighting its achievements.

Media certification and monitoring committees were set up in every district and at the state level for pre-certification of political advertisements and regulatory work, OP Rawat said.

As many as 17.69 lakh voters were added to the electoral rolls in Telangana between September 10 and October 4, according to a press release issued by the EC.

The total number of voters in the southern state, as per the final electoral rolls, has gone down by nearly nine lakh to 2.73 crore.

A total of 5.87 lakh voters were removed from the rolls. Of them, the names of 3.01 lakh were deleted as they were found to be dead, about 1.93 lakh were removed because of multiple entries and 91,000 were removed as they had shifted to other places, the release said.

The offices of the Chief Electoral Officer and District Electoral Officer had received information that Rohingyas were allegedly being included in the voters' list and the issue was being discreetly enquired, it added. 

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