EC allays apprehensions over security situation in W Bengal

New Delhi, Mar 4: Allaying apprehension over the security situation in West Bengal during the upcoming Assembly polls, the Election Commission today expressed optimism that it will be held in a "peaceful and orderly" manner.

Chief Election Commissioner S Y Quraishi said the situation in West Bengal is "settling down" and that every possible step will be taken to prevent out break of violence before and during the polls.

"I think West Bengal situation is settling down. We are very optimistic and hopeful that the polls there will surprise you. They will be held in a very peaceful and orderly manner," he told reporters here.

Asked which is a bigger challenge-- Maoist violence or political clashes, the EC said: "All these challenges are taken into account and we try to solve all the problems...we have a solution for everything." The CEC said he and other two Election Commissioners will travel to Assam on March 7-8, Tamil Nadu from March 14-17 and West Bengal on March 24.

"The programmes have been finalised and we will be visiting all the poll-bound states in another 10-15 days time," he said.

Quraishi said the EC has instructed all district election officers to take cognisance of media reports about violation of model code of conduct and register complaints based on the reports.

He said every district will have a committee to monitor newspapers to keep a check on paid news.

Earlier, addressing a seminar, Quraishi expressed concern over candidates with criminal background contesting elections and said this trend can be checked only with greater participation of the people.

"You have the key, but you do not use it. It is in your hands. Come and participate, then these things will get reduced," he said.

The CEC also ruled out making voting compulsory saying it is "against democracy" and it cannot be enforced.


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