With few hours left for model code of conduct to set in, Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Rajasthan Praveen Gupta will be the most sought after officer in the state. The governance of state will be supervised and monitored by election commission of India through CEO as its representative till the time new government is formed.
Gupta, a 1995 batch officer has been serving as CEO since July 2020. When elections are not happening, the post of CEO is said to have not much relevance in routine administration.
“But CEO suddenly becomes the most important cog in the electoral wheels during elections. The state government has to seek concurrence from election commission for any important decision especially if it has some element of policy. Even some administrative decisions have to be verified from election commission. The role of CEO is very important then,” said a senior IAS officer.
As per the guidelines of Election Commission, CEO is responsible for reviewing law and order situation and ensuring timely through detailed assessment. Rajasthan has 200 assembly segments spread across 50 districts. The government has added 17 districts two months back and a day before announced two more districts.
“One of the most important areas of his role is maintaining inter-state coordination and closing of state borders when needed. He also has to assess the availability and additional need of state police personnel and forces for security and send the requirement, if any to the Election Commission,” the official said.
So far Gupta has performed well while readying the state for elections. The team of Election commission led by Chief Election Commissioner Rajiv Kumar appeared satisfied on their visit to Rajasthan to assess poll preparedness.
“Barring pulling up few Collectors and SPs, CEC appreciated the efforts of election commission in Rajasthan. Now Gupta will have task cut out to coordinate with district electoral officers, who are collectors, and conduct free and fair elections,” said another officer.
CEOs of other poll bound states too hog limelight
Apart from Rajasthan, elections are also being conducted in states like Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana and Mizoram.
Anupam Rajan is the chief electoral officer (CEO) of Madhya Pradesh. He is a 1993 batch IAS officer. The team led by CEC has review the poll preparedness of the state and was satisfied with the progress. There are 230 assembly segments in Madhya Pradesh spread across 55 districts out of which two districts have been added recently.
Kangale Reena Babasaheb is the CEO of Chhattisgarh. She is a 2003 batch IAS officer. There are 90 assembly segments in Chhattisgarh spread across 33 districts. Conducting free and fair elections in Chhattisgarh has always been a challenge especially in the naxal affected districts. But with proper planning and adequate deployment of forces, there has been by far free and for elections in the state.
Vikas Raj is the CEO of Telangana. He is a 1992 batch IAS officer. Telangana assembly consists of 119 elected members and one nominated member from Anglo Indian community. The state has 33 districts. Vikas Raj is a senior IAS officer appointed as CEO in March 2022. The state is now geared up to conduct elections as the countdown has begun.
Madhup Vyas is a 2000 batch IAS officer of Arunachal Pradesh-Goa-Mizoram-Union Territory (AGMUT) cadre, who is serving as CEO of Mizoram. Vyas has run an extensive campaign for the electoral awareness in Mizoram and has urged everyone to participate. All eyes will be on Mizoram with unrest in neighbouring Manipur.
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