EC takes up hate speech issues with parties

The Election Commission met representatives from national and regional parties here on Saturday to discuss a range of issues ranging from the need to maintain a high level of conduct in election speeches to that of protecting the secrecy of how votes are cast at a particular booth.

Parties have assured us that the coming polls are conducted with highest
standards and decorum, says CEC Nasim Zaidi.

“Hate speeches” and personalised attacks in poll campaigns came up for discussion, with parties agreeing that this needed to be addressed. “This [hate speech] is one of the issue that we had flagged for the ongoing Assembly polls in five States. All political parties have supported and have suggested and have committed that they will ensure that the coming elections are conducted with highest standards and decency and with decorum,” Chief Election Commissioner Nasim Zaidi was quoted by PTI as saying. “The Commission is assured by all these political parties. We have also urged and appealed to them.”

There was also a discussion on whether security deposits — Rs. 10,000 for the Assembly polls and Rs. 25,000 for the Lok Sabha polls – should be hiked upwards, with parties reportedly not in favour of the idea.

On the items of the agenda was the need to use ‘totaliser,’ a machine that mixes votes from various polling stations and which, the EC feels, would better protect voters’ identity during counting of votes.