The Election Commission of India said it is monitoring developments in the country after the February 14 Pulwama terror attack and the Indian Air Force’s pre-dawn strike on terror camps across the Line of Control on Tuesday, PTI reported.
Speaking to reporters in Mumbai, Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa said the poll panel is duty-bound to carry out the mandate given by the Constitution. He was responding to a question on whether the Election Commission’s schedule for the Lok Sabha elections, due to be held in the summer, would be affected by the developments in wake of the air strikes.
“The Election Commission does keep a watch on all the developments which take place,” said Lavasa. “And we are duty-bound to carry out our mandate, which has been given by the Constitution.”
The Election Commission has been reviewing preparedness in Maharashtra for the Lok Sabha elections and held meetings with political parties, police officials, senior bureaucrats, chiefs of nodal agencies, railways and postal officials to take stock of the situation, ANI reported.
Lavasa said that voter-verifiable paper audit trail would be used at all polling booths in the state along with electronic voting machines. Maharashtra has 95,473 polling stations and 49,284 polling locations.
Earlier on Tuesday, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale confirmed that the IAF had carried out a “non-military preemptive action” against the biggest camp of the Pakistan-based Jaish-e-Mohammed militant outfit. A large number of terrorists and trainers of the militant outfit were killed in the attack, he said.
Pakistan, however, has refuted India’s version and accused it of lying about the strikes and the casualties. Pakistan armed forces spokesperson Major General Asif Ghafoor said Islamabad will react differently and surprise India in retaliation. Pakistan is “fully prepared to respond” to any misadventure, its ruling party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf added.