New Delhi: The Election Commission has instructed all its officers to stay impartial during the election season and not get influenced by political parties. 

"We have no political master to serve, we have only one master to serve, that is the ECI," the poll panel said while addressing the concerns of officers involved in election duty.

The poll officers, in a meeting of the Election Commission held in New Delhi, had expressed concern over political pressure with the general election round the corner. The commission directed all chief electoral officers to impress upon the poll officials that they owe allegiance only to the commission and not any political party. 

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On Tuesday, the Election Commission got three Indian Police Service (IPS) officers transferred from Andhra Pradesh after YSRCP leaders alleged that they were working to favour the ruling Telugu Desam Party (TDP). The commission issued orders to transfer Intelligence Director General AB Venkateswara Rao, Kadapa Superintendent of Police Rahul Dev Sharma and Srikakulam Superintendent of Police Venkata Ratnam. 

The commission has asked senior officers to ensure that all election officials working with them maintain neutrality throughout the election process. "Everyone/ officers and staff must exercise the authority delegated to them by the ECI without any fear. All instructions must be acted upon and enforced with speed and zero tolerance should be maintained against any violation of MCC (model code of conduct)/defacement of public properties," the commission said.

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The poll panel also asked the police to ensure that teams should reach the election venue within 15-20 minutes, and district control rooms should be made operational 24X7.

There have been allegations of officers involved in election duties favouring one party or another. In 2017, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) alleged that the state election commission succumbed to political pressure and trampled upon the Constitution by ordering that the word 'Aam' (common) displayed on Delhi government's project advertisements and notices be covered up. AAP leaders had also met the poll commissioner seeking action.