In anticipation of the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections in 2024, Shimla witnessed a flurry of administrative activity as District Election Officer cum Deputy Commissioner Anupam Kashyap issued a directive to all nodal officers. The directive mandates the completion of final action plans within the next five days, ensuring meticulous groundwork for the electoral process.

The directive came during a pivotal meeting convened by Anupam Kashyap, where nodal officers were tasked with various responsibilities of election preparedness. The meeting, attended by key officials including Additional Deputy Commissioner Abhishek Verma, Additional District Magistrate Jyoti Rana, and Additional Superintendent of Police Rattan Singh Negi, emphasized the urgency of meticulous planning and execution.

Addressing the gathering, Additional Deputy Commissioner Abhishek Verma highlighted the progress made in implementing the Model Code of Conduct, with 11 out of 14 complaints already resolved. He also outlined initiatives aimed at voter awareness, including slogan-writing competitions and rallies, underscoring the concerted efforts at every administrative level.

In discussions concerning surveillance and law enforcement, it was revealed that all Flying and Static Surveillance Teams were fully operational, with no reported cases of seizure thus far. Anupam Kashyap urged these teams to intensify their efforts and ensure comprehensive investigations.

Moreover, emphasis was placed on adherence to prescribed norms regarding the security of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) and Voter Verifiable Paper Audit Trail (VVPAT) machines. The presence of political party representatives during crucial events like first-level checking was deemed imperative to uphold transparency.

Highlighting the importance of inclusivity, Anupam Kashyap directed the provision of wheelchair facilities at polling stations for voters with disabilities, underscoring the commitment to ensure accessibility for all citizens.

In light of the ongoing preparations, Additional Superintendent of Police Ratan Singh Negi provided updates on law enforcement measures, including seizures under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act and the Excise Act. Additionally, the deposition of licensed weapons by citizens underscored efforts to maintain peace and security during the electoral process.

Anupam Kashyap reiterated the significance of timely and coordinated efforts by all officials to facilitate smooth conduct of the Lok Sabha elections. With the overarching goal of ensuring free, fair, and peaceful elections, the administration remains steadfast in its commitment to upholding democratic principles.

For citizens seeking recourse or information related to electoral matters, a toll-free helpline number (1950) has been established. This initiative aims to provide a platform for lodging complaints regarding Model Code of Conduct violations and expenditure-related issues, further enhancing transparency and accountability in the electoral process.