Political parties want Assembly elections before Bihu: CEC

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Guwahati, Feb 3 (PTI) Political parties in Assam want theupcoming Assembly elections in the state to be completedbefore the Rongali Bihu festival from April 14 but date forthe polls is yet to be finalised, Chief Election CommissionerS Y Quraishi today.

"We met the political parties to know their impression onthe elections. All except one political party wanted theelection to be completed before the Bihus. One party said theelections could be held after the Bihu with a gap of a week orten days," Quraishi told reporters here.

Asked when the polls were scheduled in the state and inhow many phases, he said, "We have taken the inputs andsuggestions from our officers and the political parties andreviewed the arrangements on the law and order."

"There are other states also going to the polls. We willsee all of them in totality. After doing our homework, we willdecide. Scheduling and spacing elections is a very complexexercise we are working on. As of now we have not decided,"the CEC said.

During meeting here yesterday, some political partiesexpressed concern about the movement of militants bothsurrendered, he said.

"Some even mentioned about violence by some ministers andMLAs. The parties were also concerned about criminals out onparole because they can do mischief during the elections," theCEC said.

"The political parties also raised the issue of armsseizure and we had discussions with the Chief Secretary andDirector General of Police today about the seizure ofunlicenced arms," the CEC said.

The illegal unlicenced arms could be seized through smartintelligence gathering and raids, Quraishi said.

On the possibility of pro-talk members of differentinsurgent outfits being used by any political party during thepolls, he said, "We monitor every possible threat to peacefulelection. These pro-talk people are confined to specifiedareas and cannot come outside those areas".

The CEC also said "sensitive booths will be provided withmicro observers for polls and expenditure control, extensivevideography, photography and also web casting would be donefrom the polling station so that sitting in Delhi and Guwahatiwe can know what is happening inside the booth".

"We have emphasised to the police officers that thenon-bailable warrants have to be executed as over 14,000warrants are pending. All of them have to be arrested becauseif they continue to roam free they may create problems duringthe polls, Quraishi said.

"The parties also mentioned about citizens being harassedwhen their cases are referred to the Foreigners Tribunal asonce referred to the Tribunal, they are not allowed to vote,"he said.

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