EC asks all States to prepare photo electoral rolls by Aug

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Mangalore, May 8 (UNI) The Election Commission today directed all the State Governments to complete the process of preparing photo electoral rolls by August 2008, in time for the general elections to be held in 2009.

Speaking to newspersons here after reviewing the poll preparedness for the second phase of elections to the Karnataka Assembly elections in ten districts, Chief Election Commissioner N Gopalaswamy said some States, including Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Rajasthan and Haryana, had already completed this process.

He said today's meeting, attended by District Electoral Officers, Superintendents of Police and poll observors, instructed the district administration to take suitable steps to communicate to the voters the decision of the EC to bring their elector's photo identity cards or any of the other 20 documents to exercise franchise.

The meeting expressed displeasure over excise officials not taking adequate measures to contain the movement of illicit liquor and instructed them to take immediate steps to check it.

Mr Gopalaswamy said that during interactions with the representatives of various parties, several complaints were received about some parties issuing coupons to purchase articles in exchange of votes. Complaints were also received over the alleged use of religious places to woo voters. The EC had issued directions to the district administration and police officials to take adequate measures against these complaints.

To a query, he said the Commission had long ago recommended the Union Government to ban all pre-poll and exit-poll surveys, but the decision was yet to be taken by the Government.

Besides Mr Gopalaswamy, the other two Election Commissioners Naveen B Chawla and S Y Quraishi, Deputy Election Commissioner R Bhattacharya and Karnataka Chief Electoral Officer M N Vidyashankar were among those who participated in the review meeting.

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