With five states – Tamil Nadu, Puducherry, Assam, Kerala and West Bengal – set to go to polls over the next one year, the Election Commission has asked the finance ministry to provide at least 150 Indian Revenue Service (IRS) officers to be deputed as election observers to keep watch on poll expenditure of candidates and ensure free and fair polls.
The EC communication also for the first time formally expressed its desire to complete the electoral process in these states by the first quarter of next year. The EC also asked the ministry to ensure that all IRS officers deputed should be taint free and not the ones who were drafted by the government in the recent past as election observers. These observers will be selected from 1983 to 2005 batches.
The Central Board of Direct Taxes has agreed to spare five officers each from Chandigarh, Jaipur, Kochi, Pune, Guwahati and Nagpur while 10 officers each will be provided from other charges. Officers involved in investigation and time-barred sensitive assessment cases have been kept out of this process.