Chief Election Commissioner OP Rawat (2nd left) at the interactive session on Saturday.
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Kolkata: The Election Commission of India (ECI) has decided to equip all voters in West Bengal, along with those in other parts of the country, with a mobile app through which voters will be able to make real-time reporting of any malpractice or violence during an election.

“We tried this mobile app in Bangalore during the recently concluded Karnataka Assembly elections. The app will be made available throughout India during the Lok Sabha elections due in 2019,” Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) OP Rawat said in Kolkata today.

The CEC was in the city for an interactive session organised by the Merchants’ Chamber of Commerce & Industry. He made the announcement about the pan India app in response to a question as to how the ECI is preparing to curb malpractices and violence during future elections in West Bengal.

The mobile app that the ECI used on a pilot basis in Bangalore is named, Model Code of Conduct Violation Reporting App.

“Through this app, we want to empower every single voter with the ability to keep a real-time vigilance on the election process. Using this app, a voter will be able to send photographs, video, and audio recordings of any malpractice or violent incidents occurring any place during the election.”

“The advantage of the app is that it will at once deliver the video or photograph to all the senior election and police officers right from the district to the state level, along with the latitude and longitude of the place where the video has been recorded and sent from. Hence, officials will automatically come to know about the place where the incident has happened and will take action promptly,” Rawat explained.

The CEC said that ECI will take all necessary steps to ensure that the identity of the person reporting an incident is not disclosed to some third party who might plan a revenge later.

“During the election in Bangalore, we got as many as 780 video complaints over the pilot app and actions were taken properly,” he said.

Referring to the electoral bonds issued by the Central government recently, the CEC said that ECI had flagged concerns about this in 2017 itself.

“Back then, the government told us that the plan has not crystallized yet. Now that they have issued the bonds thrice in March, April, and May, we have started gathering information and are analysing whether our concerns have been addressed. We will communicate the matter to the government,” Rawat said declining to give out a deadline.