EC hold meetings with top officials, political parties

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Bangalore, Apr 4 (UNI) The full bench of the Election Commission was today assured of full cooperation by the political parties in conducting free and fair elections in Karnataka which goes to polls in three-phases in May.

The representatives from all the political parties including Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party, Janata Dal, Communist Party of India (Marxist) and Bahujan Samaj Party met the CEC and his deputies and communicated their readiness to extended cooperation.

The Congress delegation, led by former Rajya Sabha member H Hanumanthappa met EC team which included CEC N Gopalaswamy.

Mr Hanumanthappa later told reporters that Congress had urged the CEC to ensure free and fair elections in which the eligible voters from all the sections of the society would exercise their franchises without any fear.

The party also appealed the commission to take stringent action against any party that tries to lure the voters and try to flare up communal feelings to secure political mileage.

The Congress delegation also delegation also sought clarification from the EC on the ban on the use of banners and buntings. "The EC officials assured to issue clarification on the issue," he said.

The state CPM General Secretary V G K Menon said the party had urged EC to ensure that all eligible voters were allowed to vote by producing any form of identification including driving license, ration card in case they did not have the photo identity card issued by the EC.

The party also urged the EC to deploy more forces in the sensitive areas, besides taking stern action against any parties which indulges in unlawful activities during the campaign period and also on the day of polling.

The BJP, NCP, BSP and JD(S) representatives also met the EC team and expressed their fullest cooperation in holding the elections free and fair manner.

The full bench of the EC including CEC N Gopalaswamy, Navin B Chawla and N Y Qureshi later convened the meeting of Deputy Commissioners, who were also district electoral officers, and Superintendent of polices and reviewed the poll preparedness in the state.

Karnataka Chief Electoral officer M N Vidhyashankar, Chief Secretary N Sudhakar Rao and other senior officials also participated in the meeting.

The EC on Wednesday had announced the election dates for the dissolved state assembly in three phases on May 10, 16, 22.

Counting of the elections will be done on May 25 and the election process would be completed on May 28, exactly six months after the dissolution of the Karnataka assembly.

UNI MV RS SKB1842

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