Political parties meet EC over polls dates

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Shimla, Oct 16 (UNI) The Congress and the BJP stuck to their respective positions over the election dates during the meeting with the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) and two other members, who arrived here today to review preparations for the Assembly polls.

While the Congress asked the Commission to reschedule elections in the state as they were being held during winters, the BJP opposed the move, saying postponing the polls would affect its credulity.

Barring the Congress, all other parties expressed their willingness to contest the elections as per schedule dates.

A Congress team comprising Forest Minister Ram All Thakur, legislators Asha Kumari, Mukesh Agnihotri and Harsh Vardhan informed the panel that the elections in November and December would not be possible since polling booths in many parts of the state were set up in schools, which would be holding their annual examinations then.

Besides, it would give rise to a piquant situation wherein the state would have two Assemblies since the present term of the government would expire on March 9 next year.

The Congress leaders also pointed out that the terms of the tribal legislators would be reduced by eight months if the elections were held on the scheduled dates.

A five-member BJP delegation, led by General Secretary K R Balanahta, also met the poll panel and opposed any change in the polling schedule, besides urging it to ensure strict implementation of the model code of conduct.

Referring to the misuse of helicopter by Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, the BJP leaders said he was still using it despite the moral code of conduct that had come into force on October 10.

The leaders said they told the Commission that there were no Constitutional crises following the early announcement of polls and the Congress was only raking up the issue to get the polls rescheduled.

Besides, the BJP has no problem if the state government wanted to hold winter session of the Assembly before the polls, they added.

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