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KJ Rao refuses to monitor April/May assembly polls

Written by: Staff
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New Delhi, Mar 4: Mr K J Rao, who was under RJD attack during Bihar assembly polls, has refused the Election Commission offer to be part of a team to monitor April/May assembly elections in four states and Pondicherry.

Mr Rao, whose tenure as EC Advisor (Training and Election) expired on February 28, had been offered a contract to work with the commission during the assembly elections in West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Assam and Pondicherry.

Citing personal problems, the controversial official, however, declined the offer, commission sources said today.

MPs of RJD and Samajwadi Party had severely criticised Mr Rao in the Lok Sabha, seeking his removal for his ''partisan attitude,'' but the government had expressed its helplessness as the Election Commission was a Constitutional body and that it cannot interfere in its functions. The government had also pleaded with the agitated members not to doubt the integrity of the independent, constitutional wing of democracy.

The Commission had been utilising Mr Rao's services time and again since his retirement four years ago.

Mr Rao had recently visited West Bengal twice as one of EC observers, who had detected wide-spread irregularities and malpractices in the preparation of electoral rolls and distribution of voter i-cards.

While the rolls were found to contain the names of several voters, who had either died or changed their residences to other constituencies, voter i-cards had been distributed 'in bulk' to certain individuals, instead of being handed over to the specific voters personally.

The commission had reprimanded the erring officials and asked them to take immediate remedial measures and extended the time for additions and deletions in the voters' list even after the publication of the rolls.

UNI

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