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EC constitutes 14th Lok Sabha

May 17, 2004 10:22 IST
Last Updated: May 17, 2004 15:33 IST

The 14th Lok Sabha was on Monday constituted with the Election Commission issuing a notification and submitting it along with a list of elected MPs to President A P J Abdul Kalam.

The notification includes names of 539 MPs in the House comprising 543 elected members, Chief Election Commissioner T S Krishna Murthy said.

Shortly after announcing the 'due constitution' of the Lok Sabha, the CEC along with two other Commissioners B B Tandon and N Gopalaswami drove to Rashtrapati Bhavan to submit the notification to the President.

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While elections were countermanded in Chapra in Bihar where fresh polling is scheduled for May 31, the results of Bettiah and Siwan in Bihar and Outer Manipur are yet to be announced because of re-polling in certain polling stations.

Describing the issuance of the notification as a final step in the electoral exercise, Murthy put the final voting percentage across the country at 57.86.

Asked as to why only 8% of women had got elected despite a long standing demand for reserving 33% seats for them in legislatures, he said the Commission had already suggested measures to the government to ensure adequate representation for them.

Murthy said that the Commission was called upon to hold elections eight months ahead of schedule and had completed the mammoth task involving over 670 million voters. (Elections were due in September 2004)

The CEC also doled out certain interesting statistics like Sachin Pilot, son of late Congress leader Rajesh Pilot, becoming the youngest member at 26 years, Congress candidate from Outer Delhi Sajjan Kumar polling the highest number of votes (850,000) and only 44 women candidates being elected to the Lok Sabha.

On criminalisation of politics, the CEC said there was a need to keep away persons who have been charge-sheeted for offences punishable with five years or more of imprisonment. "The Commission hopes that the government takes electoral reforms as priority number one," Murthy said.

He said the poll panel would make all efforts to rectify mistakes in the electoral rolls by using modern technology for ensuring reasonable accuracy.

He rejected criticism of certain political parties about the 'neutrality' of Electronic Voting Machines saying that the parties, which complained, had made substantial wining strides and they should realise the neutrality of the machines.

Describing the elections as largely peaceful, the CEC thanked the polling officials and security forces for ensuring its smooth conduct.

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