It’s not enough for election officials to be familiar with the responsibilities that come with the job. They should also dress well, be punctual and conduct themselves impeccably.
This is what the election commission (EC) had to say in a recent missive to chief electoral officials at Punjab, Manipur, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Goa – which go to the polls on February 4. The letter also asked officials attending review meetings to adhere to a strictly laid-out set of do’s and don’ts.
Review meetings are conducted by the EC in all poll-bound states and union territories to assess poll processes such as electoral roll revision, preparedness and condition of the polling machinery – among others. The missive mentioned that during these meets, the EC had found the “content and presentation” of election officials from certain states lacking in quality.
“All the meetings, reviews, workshops and seminars conducted by the commission for monitoring or assessing any election-related issue are strictly formal occasions that require dignified demeanour and conduct,” the poll panel said.
It went on to instruct the officials to ensure punctuality, refrain from using mobile phones during meetings, and “maintain the highest standards of decorum, dressing up, official protocol and impeccable personal and professional conduct at all times”. They were also told to be prepared for review meetings with the EC, and exercise “courtesy and politeness” in their interactions with panel members.
Apart from its own staff, the EC draws officials from various government agencies such as the income tax department, police force and excise department to act as expenditure observers during the polls.