CEC rules out changes in Assembly poll dates

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S Y Quraishi
New Delhi, Dec 25: Chief Election Commission S Y Quraishi ruled out any change in the schedule announced for assembly elections in five states, saying a number of factors have been taken into account before finalising it. "There is no question of rescheduling of dates already announced. We have taken everything into consideration," he told PTI a day after the schedule for five states was announced.

He was replying to a question about the possibility of a change in view of reservations expressed by Uttarakhand Chief Minister B C Khanduri about rains and snow in January in the hill state that could hamper polling. Though the BSP has not officially reacted, the ruling party in Uttar Pradesh is understood to be having reservations over early poll in February, since the term of the state assembly expires only on May 20 next year.

Quraishi admitted that there is speculation about reservation about dates in Uttar Pradesh. "Definitely, it is speculation. They (the government or the ruling party) have not said anything at all. Probably, they are sensible and they understand," he said. While the term of the assemblies in Uttarakhand, Punjab and Manipur expires on March 12, 14 and 15 respectively, in the case of Goa it ends on June 14.

Quraishi said anybody who has done a little bit of homework will understand that the Commission clubs elections in different states which are due around the same time.

"It is the earliest due date that were schedule. The earliest in this case is March 12, 14, 15 which becomes the d-day for all five states. We have to finish the elections by March. There is no mystery or rocket science. It is very obvious. Any speculation is uncalled for," he said.

On Uttarakhand Chief Minister's reservations, he said, there was no guarantee that there will be no rain or snow in February.

"We do not touch March because of examinations. In fact, there is more snow in second half of February than in the first half."

The CEC said in case there is a calamity or a broblem in any particular case, then the polls can always be rescheduled. "Now we have more elbow room. We can have the option of altering within one month and we can choose any poll dates for specific polling stations," he said.

Yesterday, the Commission surprised political calculations in the ruling establishment in Uttar Pradesh where the government was reportedly planning to advance the examinations to prevent an early poll.

The ruling party there was said to be keen on elections being held in April.

PTI

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