Now backgrounds and criminal records of contending candidates just a click away: Dr S Karuna Raju

CHANDIGAR: After making it mandatory for political parties to publish the reasons why a candidate with a criminal record has been selected for election, the Election Commission of India (ECI) has launched a “Know Your Candidate” mobile application for voters know the details and criminal history of any candidate, Dr S Karuna Raju, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Punjab, informed on Saturday.

Urging voters across the state to download the app, Dr. Raju said the app was developed to provide wide publicity and greater awareness of the criminal backgrounds of contesting candidates to ensure a transparent election. This application can be downloaded from Google Play Store and Apple App Store and the link is also available on the Commission’s website.

Asking returning officers to ensure the correct document is uploaded to the app, the CEO instructed them to tick the ‘Yes’ or ‘No’ box for the candidate’s criminal history and upload the submitted scanned document. by the candidate in the Encore offline nomination. Criminal backgrounds, like these, get public visibility through the KYC (Know Your Candidate) app. The Returning Officer should also double check and ensure that the checkbox is correctly checked as “Yes” or “No” depending on the details submitted by the candidate.

Informing about other new initiatives of ECI by launching many voter-friendly mobile applications, Dr. S. Karuna Raju said that one of the applications launched by ECI is Suvidha application, a one-stop-shop system allowing candidates and political parties to request authorizations before organizing meetings, rallies, etc. This can also be done through the Android app.

Another important application is cVIGIL which provides time-stamped, evidence-based proof of code of conduct/spending violation pattern, with live photos/videos with automatic location data. Any citizen can file a complaint via the mobile application. The flying squads then investigate the case and the returning officer makes the decision within 100 minutes.

Another new Android-based mobile application called “Vote Helpline” has also been launched, the CEO said, while adding that this application allows all citizens to find their name on the voters list, submit forms online, to check application status, lodge complaints and receive response on their mobile app in addition to knowing the contact details of booth level officers, voter registration officers and district election officers, using the voter helpline mobile application or through portal or by calling the helpline number 1950.

The CEO also disclosed that “PwD App” has also been launched to enable Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) to apply for new registration, change of address, change of details and mark themselves as PwD through the use of the mobile application was also launched. By simply entering their details, the agent at the stand is responsible for providing an in-home installation. Persons with disabilities can also request a wheelchair during the ballot.

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